flathead with pepita pesto

I'm going to tell you about something remarkable I have in my arsenal. It's a person, actually, a woman so clever and stunning and who's inspired me my whole life - when we were kids it was her skills with a highlighter, her way with the dress up cupboard - and now it's just the whole woman; funny and loving and wise. My sister Louise Fulton Keats. She cooks, too. She's recently released a cookbook called Something For Everyone, a book for families who don't want to be stuck turning out one meal for adults, another for baby, and one for the fussy toddler. And so she comes to the fray with dishes such as this flathead with pepita pesto. It's nutritious, it's hearty, it's for everyone in the family. Here's Louise's recipe for flathead with pepita pesto; something from my family for your family...

Flathead fillets with pepita pesto

Serves 4

If your child loves fish and chips, it should be easy enough to win him over to this healthier version. The pepita pesto may be a bigger ask, but offer it to him even so. He may surprise you and have a taste.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into wedges 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) cauliflower, cut into florets 2 tablespoons light olive oil or rice bran oil 100 g (3 ½ oz/2⁄₃ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour 2 eggs, lightly whisked 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) boneless flathead fillets

Pepita pesto

1 bunch coriander (cilantro) or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked 40 g (½ oz/ ¼ cup) pepitas (pumpkin seeds) 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1 garlic clove, peeled 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 1–2 tablespoons lemon juice

To make the pepita pesto, place the herbs, seeds and garlic in a food processor and process until the mixture is coarsely blended. Add the oil and process until well combined and finely blended. Add the lemon juice and 1–2 tablespoons water and blend until smooth, adding a little more oil or water if needed to achieve the desired consistency – the mixture should not be too thick. Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Arrange the sweet potato and cauliflower on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until tender – the sweet potato may take a little longer to cook than the cauliflower. Remove from the oven and keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Place the flour and egg in separate shallow bowls. Dust the fish first with flour, then dip into the egg to coat on each side. Working in batches, cook the fish for about 5 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel.

Serve the flathead fillets with the roasted vegetables and pepita pesto on the side.

Baby’s serve: for a younger baby, blend together some fish, sweet potato and cauliflower until smooth, adding as much liquid (water or your baby’s milk) as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Alternatively, if your baby is managing some finger foods (which may not happen until 8–9 months or older), cut into small pieces. For an older baby, keep the puréed consistency more textured or serve as finger food.

Toddler’s serve: serve as is.