Grilled pollack with cavolo nero and buckwheat polenta

Use pollack, or another sustainably sourced white fish such as cod or halibut, for this dish, which is at once substantial yet fresh thanks to the lemon skin and the ginger. The pollack's flaky flesh, alongside a tiny yet noticeable amount of buckwheat in the polenta, also make it extremely comforting. If you can't get cavalo nero use kale or another seasonal green instead.

4 people

Serving size


20g kasha (roasted buckwheat), or buckwheat groats
100ml full-fat milk
500ml chicken stock
12 large fresh sage leaves
12 long strips shaved lemon skin (from about 2 lemons)
Salt and white pepper
80g polenta (not the quick-cook sort)
30g unsalted butter
400g cavolo nero, stems stripped off and discarded, leaves shredded
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
15g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil 
600g cleaned pollock fillet, skin on, cut on an angle into four 150g pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

  2. Put the kasha on a small oven tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes for plain groats. Remove and when it’s cooled, lightly crush with a pestle and mortar.

  3. In a medium saucepan mix the milk, stock, 8 sage leaves and 8 lemon strips along with 100ml water, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of white pepper, bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the polenta and buckwheat. Use a wooden spoon to stir the polenta every few minutes until thick and cooked, 35-40 minutes. If it is getting too thick add a little water. At the end add the butter and stir thorough until melted. The polenta should be thick but runny enough to fall off the spoon easily, like a runny mash. Cover the top of the polenta with cling film to stop it forming a skin and leave somewhere warm.

  4. Meanwhile prepare the cavalo nero. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil, add the cavalo nero and blanch for 2 minutes. Strain and shake off any excess water. Crush 2 cloves of the garlic and place in a large sauté pan with the ginger and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 1 minute on medium heat. Add the cavalo and a ¼ teaspoon of salt, cook for 4-6 minutes until wilted and soft. Remove from the pan and leave somewhere warm.

  5. Pre-heat your grill to medium hot. Season the fish with ¼ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.

  6. Wipe out the pan and add the remaining oil. Slice the remaining garlic and add to the pan with the last of the sage and lemon strips. Cook in the oil for 30 seconds. Increase the heat and put the fish, skin side down, into the oil. Cook for a minute or two, basting the fish with the oil, and place under the grill for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and cooked.

  7. To serve, stir the polenta until smooth (put it over a gentle heat if it has cooled too much). Place a couple of spoonful’s onto individual plates, top with the wilted greens, the fish and some fried garlic, lemon and sage. Drizzle over any remaining oil from the pan and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.