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Smoked cod and spinach roll

To help avoid the fish mixture sticking to the greaseproof paper during baking, brush the paper liberally with oil, or use a silicone paper or non-stick baking parchment, available from large chemists, supermarkets and hardware stores.
Add salt sparingly because the smoked cod has a salty flavour.
If the greaseproof paper needs a little coaxing to come away from the fish mixture–run a knife carefully between them.

ingredients

serves 4
500 g (1 lb) smoked cod fillets
300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
2 bay leaves
1 lemon
225 g (8 oz) frozen spinach
4 eggs, separated
3 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
40 g (1 1/2 oz) margarine or butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
vegetable oil, for greasing

to garnish

few tomato slices (optional)
parsley sprigs (optional)

method

1. Heat the oven to l80C/350F/Gas4.

2. Put the fish in an ovenproof dish and add the milk and bay leaves. Grate the zest from the lemon and reserve. Cut 2 slices from the lemon and put them on top of the fish. Cover the surface of the dish with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until the flesh flakes easily.

3. Cook the spinach according to packet instructions, then drain thoroughly in a sieve pressing out all excess moisture with the back of a spoon.

4. Grease a 34 cm x 24 cm (13 1/2 x 9 1/2 inch Swiss roll tin and line it with greaseproof paper. Grease the paper well.

5. Lift the fish from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve the cooking liquid. Flake the flesh into a bowl, discarding all skin and bones. Mash the flesh well with a fork, then stir in the lemon zest.

6. Increase the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

7. Beat the egg yolks and stir them into the fish. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and standing in peaks, then fold into the fish. Turn the mixture out of the bowl into the Swiss roll tin and spread it evenly over the base with a knife. Place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes until the mixture is firm to the touch and beginning to brown.

8. Place the drained spinach in a saucepan with 15 g (1/2 oz) margarine.
Stir in the chopped egg, nutmeg and a little salt and pepper to taste. Reserve, keeping warm.

9. Meanwhile, melt the remaining margarine in a small saucepan, sprinkle in the flour and stir over low heat for 2 minutes until straw-coloured. Remove from the heat and gradually strain in the reserved cooking liquid. Return to the heat and simmer, stirring, until thick and smooth. Keep warm.

10. Remove the fish from the oven and turn it out of the Swiss roll tin
on to a clean sheet of greaseproof paper. Gently ease the fish away from the lining paper.

11. Spread the warm spinach mixture over the surface of the fish, then roll it up like a Swiss roll, using the greaseproof paper to help you roll the fish. Slide the roll on to a warmed serving dish, join side down, and garnish the top with tomato Slices and parsley sprigs, if liked. Cut a few slices off the roll and serve at once with the sauce handed separately.

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