Side Dishes Get SORTED: 5 Recipes to Round Out Your Meals

In search of a side dish to make? Or perhaps your appetizer plans are stalled and you need a stellar starter. Either way, SORTED Food is here to help you out. The following five recipes will satiate your snack cravings and are perfect to take to dinner party or gathering.

1. Creamy Mushroom Polenta

The polenta sets for at least an hour in the fridge for this side dish, but you can also leave it there overnight. Start prepping the night before and your polenta for four will be ready in no time at all. A knob of butter will be about a tablespoon, and rocket is what the Brits call arugula. As a reference point, one cup of polenta is about 160 grams, and 400 milliliters are about 13.53 fluid ounces.

Ingredients:

  • Milk (400 milliliters)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Polenta (100 grams)
  • Handful of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Small knob of butter
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Punnet of chestnut mushrooms (250 grams)
  • Dollop of double cream
  • Few sprigs of fresh chives
  • Handful of fresh rocket to serve

Directions: Warm the milk in a pan with the bay leaves, nutmeg, and plenty of seasoning until boiling. Line a loaf tin or similar with clingfilm (plastic wrap.) Stir in the polenta and mix until combined, cooked, and the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add the cheese, stir to melt, and then spoon all of the polenta into the lined loaf tin. Fold over the clingfilm and push down so the polenta is smooth and level then allow to cool completely in the fridge for at least an hour. Remove the polenta and cut into four neat equal shaped pieces — triangles look best.

Peel and crush the garlic, then peel and slice the mushrooms. Heat up the polenta pieces under a hot grill or in a pan with a little butter for 2 minutes. Fry the garlic and mushrooms in a very hot pan with a dash of oil for a few minutes until almost cooked. Pour in the cream with a little seasoning and bring to the boil. Slice the chives finely and stir through the mushrooms just before serving over the hot pieces of golden polenta and garnishing with rocket (arugula.)

2. Sweetcorn Chili Fritters

Take your pancakes over to the savory side with sweetcorn chili fritters. It makes about 12 servings and can be a fantastic appetizer. The splash of milk used is about 1.35 tablespoons; 60 grams of flour is just under 2/3 a cup, and 2/3 cup flour is 65 grams.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of sweetcorn, drained (325 grams)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Plain flour (60 grams)
  • Splash of milk (20 milliliters)
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • Glug of olive oil

Tomato and Lime Salsa

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 2 spring onions, washed and diced
  • Pinch of white sugar
  • Few springs of fresh coriander
  • Glug of olive oil

Directions: Quarter the tomatoes and cut away the wet middles. Dice the flesh of the tomato and add to a bowl with the red pepper and spring onion. Squeeze the lime into the chopped salsa and stir in the sugar with an extra glug of olive oil and seasoning. Dice the red onion and chili and dump into a food processor with roughly 3/4 of the sweetcorn and coriander to a blend to a paste. Stir the flour, egg, baking powder, and remaining sweetcorn into the paste and season well. Drop a tablespoon of the mix into a hot pan with a tiny shot of oil and fry gently. Cook for 2 minutes on each side so that the fritters are golden and cooked inside. Serve the fritters with plenty of the fresh tomato and lime salsa.

3. Hot Prawn Cocktail

SORTED wanted to take the shrimp (prawn) cocktail out of the 1970s and give it a modern twist. This novel, hot version serves four, and is made using shelled and shell-on shrimp.

Ingredients:

  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • A few glugs of olive oil
  • Half a bulb of garlic, peeled
  • A handful of fresh thyme
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 handfuls of raw shelled prawns
  • A few splashes of Tabasco sauce
  • A ciabatta loaf, cut into slices
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • A knob of butter
  • A good handful of crevettes (raw shrimp with the shell on)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne
  • 3 heads of baby gem lettuce
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • Mayonnaise (100 grams)
  • Tomato ketchup (100 grams)
  • Shot of cognac

Directions: Preheat the oven to 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit.) Halve the tomatoes and stick them on a baking tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil and chuck on a few cloves of garlic, thyme sprigs, and a little seasoning before putting into the oven for 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (374 degrees Fahrenheit.) Slice one of the lemons into thin pieces. Heat a little oil in a pan, adding the lemon slices to fry until just start to color. Cut a square of foil large enough to wrap into a parcel. Place the raw, shelled prawns into the foil and arrange a couple of cloves of garlic, caramelized lemon slices, and a few sprigs of thyme on top. Drizzle a glug of olive oil, a few shakes of Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper over the prawns and seal the foil around it. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes on a tray with the slices of ciabatta loaf around it to crisp up.

Peel and finely chop another garlic clove and the parsley. Chuck the butter into a hot frying pan with a glug of oil. Add the shell on prawns with the chopped garlic and parsley to fry. Squeeze over the juice of the remaining lemon, add the cayenne and let it bubble away for another minutes or so. Cut the lettuce in half lengthways, keeping the root intact, then wash to make sure there is no dirt or grit.

Heat a cast iron griddle pan (or a dry frying pan) and press the inside half of the lettuce down onto the pan. Grill the lettuce for a couple of minutes until it begins to blacken. Take it out of the pan and shred. Combine the mayonnaise and ketchup in a bowl, adding a few drops of Tabasco, a shot of cognac, and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the cucumber ready to serve. Serve everything on a large platter to make one huge salad of warm salmon, prawns and lettuce, with the oven dried tomatoes, cucumber slices, and croutons.

4. Jumbo Chicken Spring Rolls

Instead of frying the spring rolls, SORTED decided to bake them for a healthier version of a fried classic. You’ll get 4 large spring rolls that are better for you, or 8 smaller ones. To kick up the flavor, let the chicken marinate for several hours in the fridge before cooking. Three tablespoons in the UK is roughly equal to 3.6 tablespoons in the U.S.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 red chili
  • A thumb sized chunk of ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • A squeeze of honey
  • 1/2 a carrot
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • 2 spring onions
  • 4 sheets of fillo pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit.) Slice the chicken into very thin strips and put into a bowl. Sprinkle over the Chinese 5 spice powder and marinate for half an hour with a teaspoon of soy sauce and sesame oil. Deseed and dice the chili, peel and grate the ginger and garlic, chop the coriander and mix together, before dividing equally between two bowls.

Peel the carrot, deseed the peppers, and thinly slice both with the spring onions. Toss the sliced vegetables into one of the bowls of ginger, garlic, coriander, and chili. Fry the chicken in a hot pan or wok until colored and just cooked. Dump the fried chicken into all the raw sliced ingredients and leave to cool. Lay out one fillo pastry sheet at a time and brush half the sheet with the egg wash. Fold in half to make a double layer and brush the edges with egg and turn the pastry so the point of a diamond faces you.

Spoon a generous amount of the chicken mix, with minimal liquid, into the middle of the diamond in a cigar shape, but not right to the edges. Move the bottom corner of the diamond over the mixture, roll half way keeping it fairly tight and fold the sides in. Keep rolling until it forms the spring roll shape. Brush with a little sesame oil and bake for 15 minutes until golden and crispy all over. Whisk the remaining chili, ginger, garlic, and coriander with the honey, and 2 tablespoons (2.4 U.S. tablespoons) of both soy sauce and sesame oil. Take the rolls out of the oven and serve with the dip and a light salad of choice.

5. Smoked Mackerel Pâté

Sophisticated but simple, the SORTED smoked mackerel pâté is easy because the mackerel is bought smoked, taking out a large chunk of the work. It can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Eat it with crusty bread, or serve it on crackers. As a starter, it will serve around six people. You’ll need around 2/3 of a pound of mackerel, and approximately 2.4 tablespoons of cream cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a lemon
  • Smoked mackerel fillets, skinned and boned (300 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons of cream cheese
  • Heaped tablespoon of softened butter
  • Handful of fresh chives, chopped
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Few mixed peppercorns
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
  • A wedge of crusty bready

Directions: Zest and juice the lemon and put in a food processor with the mackerel, cream cheese, butter, chives and black pepper. Blitz until you have a smooth paste. Spoon the mixture into small individual serving dishes and smooth over the top with a hot knife. Decorate the top of each dish with a trio of peppercorns and sprig of rosemary before allowing to set in the fridge. Serve with crusty bread and a pile of pickled red cabbage.

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