Make the compote. Heat the oil in
a large, non-stick frying pan, then
sizzle the shallots for 2 mins until
starting to soften. Season with salt,
pepper and the sugar. Add the tomatoes,
then cook for 2-3 mins over a high heat
until they start to release their juice. Drizzle
over the vinegar, bubble for a few mins,
turn off the heat, then scatter over the
coriander. Transfer to a plate.
Now start the fish. With a large chef’s knife, cut off
the head just past the gill (you can use this for stock). Using a pair of kitchen scissors,
trim away the frills from either side
of the fish. Squeeze out any roe from the
cavity then pick out and wash
away any blood. Pat dry with kitchen paper. You
will now have a trimmed slipper-shaped
fish ready to be pan-fried.
In a large,
shallow dish mix the flour with
cayenne pepper and season
with salt. Dip each fish in the seasoned
flour to completely coat, then pat off the
excess. Set the fish aside.
Heat the oil in a large, non-stick
frying pan until hot. Place the
floured fish in the pan, skinned
side down. Shake the pan a little, then
cook the fish, undisturbed, for about
4 mins until golden brown.
Using a fish slice, carefully turn the
fish over, then continue to cook on
the underside for 2-3 mins until it
has shrunk and is starting to come away
from the bone. Add the pieces of butter
to the outside of the pan and let them
sizzle into the oil.
Fry the fish for another 2-3 mins,
constantly spooning the buttery
oil over it to finish the cooking
and keep it moist.
Squeeze the lemon half through
your fingers over the fish and cook
for about 30 secs longer. Remove
from the heat, then rest the fish in the
pan for 2 mins.
To remove the bones, sit the fish on a board, skinned
side up. Run a fine fish slice or
filleting knife down the natural line
in the centre of the fish. Push the fillets away from bone,
but leave them attached to the
outside of the fish. Working from the head end
of the fish, slowly pull the main
skeleton out, easing the fillets
aside as the bone comes loose. Carefully push the fillets back to
reform so it resembles the whole
Serve on a large plate
with the tomatoes and some buttered