Chard has an almost year long growing season but it is always at its best in late spring/early summer. It is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, but if you don’t have a vegetable bed look out for it at the greengrocer or supermarket. Don’t be put off by the idea of making hollandaise sauce. If you have a food processor it is easier than making a white sauce. I have a large steamer so like to steam both the fish and swiss chard but you could also poach the fish and boil the chard.
You can make the hollandaise a few hours in advance and the best way of keeping it warm is in a thermos flask. Simply stir in the diced tomato just before serving. If you can’t get swiss chard you could use spinach and, of course, smoked haddock could replace the smoked cod-just make sure it’s the natural, undyed fish.
- For the hollandaise sauce
- 2 ripe vine tomatoes, scored with a cross on each base
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 200g unsalted butter
- 4 sprigs tarragon, leaves only and finely chopped
- To finish
- 500g swiss chard –rainbow or plain, washed
- 600g skinless smoked cod fillet
- Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water and leave for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh under cold water. Peel off the skins. Cut into quarters and scoop out the seeds. Finely dice the flesh and place in a bowl. Season with a little salt and ground black pepper and set aside at room temperature until later.
- Place the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar and 1 tablespoon cold water in the small bowl of a food processor and season with a little salt. Blend for a few seconds.
- Place the butter in a small saucepan and place over a low heat until melted. Start the food processor and very slowly drizzle the melted butter into the eggs. The hollandaise sauce should have the consistency of double cream. Stir in the tarragon. Taste and season with a little salt if necessary. Keep warm (see above) while you prepare the chard and fish.
- Place the swiss chard in a steamer and sprinkle over a little salt and ground black pepper. Put a piece of non-stick baking parchment in another layer of the steamer and arrange the fish fillets on top. Steam for 12-15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through and the chard is tender.
- Stir the diced tomato into the hollandaise sauce and pour into a jug. Pile the swiss chard onto 4 dinner plates and top with a fillet of smoked cod. Pour over the tomato and tarragon hollandaise sauce.