Entries in Fish (2)


Episode 30: Parmesan Jacket'd Salmon & Couscous.


Hey look, a new episode of CoverVersions! Now if only I can remember how to do this…



Yes. It was a long time between updates. Again. But a lot of things have been going on! I went to Germany! There was Christmas! I went back to work! Things were busy! But anyway, enough excuses. I told myself that I was going to be more regular with my updates this year, and I mean it. So! Recipe. This is one that I have only made once, when I made the video. I haven't made it since, but every time I look back at it, I say "Wow, I need to make that again." It's extremely tasty, and for all that there's a lot going on, it's not that difficult or time-consuming. 

Another note: watercress. I had never had or used watercress before. I only knew it because of a joke made in an Archie comic where Archie took Veronica to a fancy restaurant, but couldn't afford anything, so he ordered two watercress sandwiches & tap water. Well, my ignorance shows because today I saw watercress at the green grocer and it does NOT look like what I used in the video. So I guess any salad leaf will do.

Another thing I'd like to point out: after 30 episodes, it's getting tougher & tougher to come up with new and interesting music, so I've decided to outsource/ask for help. And on that note, I present Joel, aka @gingerexplosion on Twitter, who is going to be helping me with the music side of things for the foreseeable future. Welcome Joel! As a starting point, I had chosen some music that were not actual covers, but instead evoked a certain sound, much like when I used the Raveonnettes in the Bikkits episode. Come to think of it, I had Joel's help with that one too! Go figure.


Music notes, by Joel:

The Last Shadow Puppets - "In My Room", "My Mistakes Were Made For You", "Separate And Ever Deadly", all from The Age of the Understatement, 2008

Adele's theme for Skyfall, like the film itself, remixes James Bond's history into a more modern form. The John Barry brass, the Matt Monro/Nancy Sinatra coo, the Shirley Bassey drama; all its elements are as iconic as the shaken-not-stirred martini, or the Walther PPK. Bond themes are a genre unto themselves, and 'Skyfall' Frankensteins its conventions into something that sounds simultaneously retro and contemporary.

Alex Turner and Miles Kane did something very similar on The Age of the Understatement, the only album to date of their project The Last of the Shadow Puppets. All sixties melodrama and twanging guitars, songs like 'In My Room' are Bond themes in waiting. With arrangements by Owen Pallett (the artist formerly known as Final Fantasy) performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, the only thing separating 'Skyfall' and 'My Mistakes Were Made For You' is the film to legitimise the latter. Turner's heart-worn and sentimental lyrics aren't exactly a natural fit with Daniel Craig's stiff upper lip, 'I'm not not crying' version of Bond, but, as Adele's 'Skyfall' proves, lyrics aren't everything.


Parmesan Jacket'd Salmon with Tomato Couscous & Cress Salad

serves 2


400g salmon fillet, skin on

100g parmesan cheese

150g couscous

1 egg

1 bunch basil

1 clove garlic

1 bunch watercress or salad leaves

1 tomato

1 lemon

50g flour

olive oil

salt & pepper



  • Fill the kettle & get it boiling.
  • Get a pot (one with a lid) and put it on medium heat.
  • Peel & chop up the garlic, and put it in the pot with a bit of oil.
  • Pick most of the leaves off the basil, but keep the stems.
  • Chop the stems finely, put them in the pot with the garlic (once the garlic is coloured) and AGITATE. 
  • Cut the tomato into chunks, and add that to the pot as well.
  • Add the couscous and 225 ml of water, mix it all up, put the lid on, and take it off the heat.
  • Get a decent-sized frying pan on medium-high heat, with some oil.
  • Crack the egg, into a biggish bowl, and beat it until combined.
  • Get out two plate-accomplices. In one, spread out the flour. In the other, grate the parmesan cheese. 
  • Arrange the bowl and two plate accomplices into a little assembly line, flour-egg-cheese.
  • If your salmon is in one piece, cut it lengthwise into two long pieces. 
  • Take each piece and dunk it in the flour, coating it completely, and shake off the excess. Then dunk the fillet into the egg, coating again, then finally into the cheese, so it sticks. You want nice even coverage.
  • Put the fish into the hot pan & cook for 2 minutes per side (I did it for 8 minutes total).
  • While that's happening, bifurcate the lemon. Squeeze the juice of half into a big salad bowl.
  • Add three times as much olive oil as you have lemon juice. Yes, really. 
  • Pinch of salt, a bit of pepper, then taste it to see if it's alright. Adjust if you need more of anything.
  • Wash the watercress & tear it up. Add the torn cress to the salad bowl & toss to coat.
  • When the fish it done cooking, lay it out on paper towel.
  • Take the lid off the couscous, fluff it up with a fork, then stir the basil leaves through, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the fish, couscous & salad on a plate, seize, and consume!




Episode 4: Nirvana Fish

Another episode, and in record time. Not only did this only take me 2 evenings and a morning to edit, but the final video, pre-speed-up was only 16-minutes. Clearly a recipe for those in a hurry. It went so quickly, in fact, that I made two glaring mistakes, which I annotated in the video:


This is a two-person recipe, and, as noted, make sure you turn the heat down to a simmer at the opportune time, or else, tragedy (like when the feeling's gone, and you can't go on).



JEFF the Brotherhood - "Something in the Way"
EMA - "Endless Nameless"
Foxy Shazam - "Drain You"
Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band - "Stay Away"
(all from "SPIN presents NEWERMIND: A Tribute Album")


Unlike many my age, I came to Nirvana late. I was too young and out of touch during the Grunge movement to know who Kurt Cobain was until he was dead. Even then, I only had a vague idea from the news. In 1995, I was 13, and my friend Andrew (who also introduced me to Green Day, Offspring, and the entire idea of alternative and punk) played "Nirvana: MTV Unplugged In New York" for me. "This one's a David Bowie cover." he told me. I only (again) had the vaguest idea who David Bowie was, having heard my father mention the name, but never having heard any of the music. I didn't like it. Compared to the much more kinetic and fun pop-punk music he'd played me before, this just seemed like a guy croaking along to an acoustic guitar to songs I didn't know. I voiced just that opinion, and was told I was a moron, and that when I was older (perhaps closer to his clearly more mature and grown-up 14), I might understand.

Still, it took me a while.

Cut ahead 2 years to 1996. Now an old man of 15, I was part of my first band, the eloquently titled 4-Sale (yes, spelled with a 4), of which I was the drummer (and held the practices, because we had a basement with my drum kit in it). The lead singer/guitarist, Rocky (again, his actual given name), was a devotee of Cobain. He had all the albums. All of his t-shirts were Nirvana shirts. He could even approximate the Cobain voice , having smoked cigarettes and weed since he was 8. Yes. He was one of those kids. He even had a long dot-matrix-printed banner that said "R.I.P. KURT" which he printed out at school and secreted home. Rocky was kind enough to make me a tape of random Nirvana songs, which I played continuously (along with the tape of "Enter Sandman", "One", and "For Whom The Bell Tolls" made for me by lead guitarist Martin), though I didn't even know the song titles. I can proudly say that "Tourettes" was the first ever song I've played to make my liberal, I-like-you-kids'-music dad say "Ugh! Turn that off! It's just noise!" which is a proud moment in every kids life. I still did not own any albums, unless you counted Weird Al's "Smells Like Nirvana" from "Off The Deep End". I had, however, stolen an Incesticide t-shirt from Rocky (he loaned it to me once for our school talent show, and I wore it home and never gave it back), which I trotted out for occasions where I wanted to look cool. 

It would be 8 months and summer before I got up the nerve to buy a Nirvana tape (it was "In Utero", and I didn't like it because it didn't have any of the songs I knew) and another year in a different province before I got my own Nirvana shirt, which was ash-grey, had a blue picture of Kurt on the front with an RIP, hung halfway to my knees, and was once worn by my-first-proper-girlfriend-and-first-proper-kiss Stephanie when she spilled something on her shirt and needed it washed when at my house. Another proud moment.

So anyhow, the music from this Cover Version is all from "SPIN presents Newermind: A Tribute Album" (found here, though they're not offering it for download anymore). I originally chose "Something In The Way" due to it's line about fish and their lack of feelings, but the doomy JEFF the Brotherhood didn't start doing their thing until after that line, so I layered in some of EMA's take on "Endless Nameless". The other two choices? They are the single catchiest earwormiest tracks on the album. Charles Bradley & the Menehan St Band in particular changed the song so thoroughly that I barely recognised it.




  • Preheat your oven on its lowest setting, and cram your two bowls into it.
  • Put 2 frying pans, one with a lid called Pan The First, one without called Pan The Second, onto medium heat.
  • Smash the skins off of two cloves of garlic and chop them to bit.
  • Rip the bunch of coriander in half with Incredible-Hulk-like strength, put aside the leaves, and chop up the stalks finely. Leave no stalk unchopped.
  • Cut your chilli in half and chop up half of it.
  • Put some oil into Pan The First, then add half your garlic, your stalks, and the chilli, stirring often, until garlic looks cooked, then crack open a tin of your finest tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes into the pan, stir, and for the love of criminy, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Top and tails your zucchini, then cut it to bits. Divest your onion of its earthly rainments, then roughly cut it up.
  • When your sauce is ready, put the fish fillets on top of the sauce and hide its shame from the world with the lid. Keep that lid on for 10 minutes.
  • Put some oil in Pan The Second. Chuck in the unused garlic, the zucchini and onion, along with 1/2 a tsp of cumin (another thing I forgot). Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • While the veggies are doing their thing, put 190g of couscous into a bowl, and cover with boiling water, then put Gladwrap over the bowl. Let it sit for 4 minutes.
  • Get your lemon and zest the hell out of it.
  • Draw, quarter and chop up your coriander leaves.
  • The veggies should be soft around the time the couscous has had its 4 minutes. Put the cooked veggies into the couscous bowl and mix it about, then cover it back up.
  • When the 10 minutes is up (which it should be, at this point), take the lid off Pan The First. Check the fish is cooked, and remove the skin if you don't like it (I don't like it). Turn off the heat.
  • Get your warm plates out of the oven, and make a little bed of couscous and veggies. Fish bits on top. Then sauce., then finally, lemon zest and coriander leaves.
  • Seize, and consume!