Letting butter cook down until it develops a golden brown colour changes the flavour, making it richer and nuttier. Serve with new potatoes and asparagus or broccolini.
500g (generous 1 lb) skinned and boned gurnard fillets ⅓ cup plain flour mixed with ¼ tsp salt Finely grated zest 1 lemon 1 Tbsp snipped chives 1 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon or thyme Juice of 2 lemons 75g (2½ oz) butter ½ cup slivered almonds
1 Wash fish and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut into manageable pieces (each fillet probably needs cutting into two-three pieces). Put flour and salt onto a piece of paper towel. Prepare all other ingredients. Have the lemon zest and herbs mixed in a bowl and lemon juice ready to add to them at the last minute (mix together at the last moment because the lemon juice can change the colour of the herbs).
2 Heat a large heavy-based frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat and add half the butter. Quickly dust fish fillets with flour. Once the butter is sizzling, add the fish fillets, putting them in the pan with their best side facing down (this will be the presentation side). Cook fish until golden, then turn over with a fish slice and cook for just a few minutes more, until the fish is barely cooked through. Transfer fish to a platter (it will finish cooking with residual heat). Wipe pan clean with paper towels and return to the heat
3 Add remaining butter to pan with the almonds and let it melt, sizzle and turn a rich golden brown, stirring the almonds often. As soon as the almonds are golden, remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a side plate. Continue cooking the butter until it is a nut brown colour. Some judgment is required here – if you take the butter too far, it will burn, but if it is yellowish in colour it will not have developed the full nutty rich flavour.
4 As soon as the butter is ready, mix lemon juice with zest and herbs, pour into the pan. It will steam up immediately – simply swirl the pan and pour the buttery juice, sizzling and steaming, over the fish. Top with the fried almonds and serve immediately.