James Strawbridge’s Bacon-wrapped Coley

James Strawbridge's coley recipe


  • 185g polenta
  • 50g salted butter
  • 50g mature Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper or dash of Tabasco
  • 4 coley fillets (about 120g each)
  • 8 slices smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
  • 100ml good-quality barbecue sauce
  • 50g mozzarella, chopped
  • 50g mature cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Buttery green veg, to serve
delicious. Magazine and Marine Stewardship Council

James Strawbridge, who presented the series of BBC Northern Ireland’s “Strawbridge over the Drawbridge” and featured on C4 “Escape to the Chateau”, is a passionate chef and sustainable living expert as well as an Marine Stewardship Council UK Ambassador. His recipe, which uses coley instead of cod, is ideal for Sustainable Seafood September.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25min
Cooking time: 15min

  1. Heat the oven to Fan oven 200°C, Gas Mark  7. Put the polenta in a saucepan and cover with 1 litre of water. Season with a good pinch of salt and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it resembles runny porridge. After 30-35min, add the butter, cheese and cayenne/Tabasco. Stir until smooth and season to taste.
  2. Meanwhile, wrap each fillet of coley carefully in 2 slices of bacon or pancetta to cover the fish like a parcel and put in an ovenproof dish lined with baking paper. When the polenta has 15min of cooking time remaining, put the fish in the oven. After 10min, spoon over the barbecue sauce and cover with the cheese and thyme. Return the dish to the oven to cook for a further 3-5min until the cheese has melted.
  3. Serve the coley on a bed of cheesy polenta with vegetables on the side.

This recipe is my twist on a classic, well-loved dish Hunter’s Chicken. I’ve brought in Louisiana style flavours to give it a sweet and smoky kick and this balances nicely with the cheesy, comforting corn grits – or in this case, polenta. Coley is a great swap for cod as both have beautiful, flaky and meaty textures.

James Strawbridge

For brilliant recipes every week, pick up a copy of “The People’s Friend”

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.