“Fresh Fish Fridays”

Pan fried sea bass with chermoula and spiced chickpeas
 Make Friday one of the days of the week you set aside to eat seafood. Conveniently close to the Mediterranean sea, it’s no surprise that people in the Mediterranean eat mostly locally sourced seafood. You only have to experience the clamour of the local fish markets to realise that seafood, both fish and shellfish, are consumed several times per week. Sardines, trout, tuna, bream, sea bass, mackerel, cod, prawns, octopus, squid, oysters, clams, crab, mussels. The choice is yours, consider seafood a Mediterranean super food, as long as you choose wisely, make sure you source well, freshness is all important here. Make sure your fish is balanced by plenty of fresh vegetables and pulses. In the first recipe I´ve used chickpeas, spinach and roasted cherry tomatoes, with fresh herbs and spices in the sauce. If you want to make it a wholly vegetarian dish the chickpea and spinach casserole can be served as a main meal in its own right. For the second dish I have combined canned beans and piquillo peppers with fresh broad beans and runner beans. If broad beans are unavailable use frozen endamame.

Pan fried fillet of sea bass with chermoula sauce,a chickpea and spinach casserole and oven roasted cherry Kumatoes
The chermoula can be prepared well in  advance and kept in the fridge over night.The Chickpea casserole actually improves with standing so can also be cooked the day before, just adding the spinach when you re-heat it.
1 sea bass fillet (approx. 1lb/ 500g) per serving.
Ask your fishmonger to clean de-scale and fillet the fish or alternately if you feel confident enough, fillet and de-bone it yourself.
Butter and oil for frying

serves 4-6 as a side dish
350g /12 oz chickpeas,picked clean and soaked overnight in cold water
450g / 1lb fresh baby spinach
2 large onions,chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
4-5 garlic cloves,chopped
1 lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper
Drain and rinse the chickpeas.In a large pan,cover with plenty of water and bring to the boil.Skim,cover and cook until they are soft.This could take about an hour or more (if using a pressure cooker,about 20 minutes).Strain,but keep the liquid.
Using the same saucepan,sauté the onions in the hot oil until glistening and add the cumin and garlic.when they become aromatic,add the chick peas and enough of their reserved cooking liquid to barely cover them.Add the lemon juice,cover and simmer for about 1 hour.Towards the end of that time,or if re-heating, rinse the spinach leaves and drain them.Add the spinach,salt and a generous amount of pepper to the chickpeas.Mix well and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
! medium red chilli,finely chopped
1 clove garlic,finely chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon coriander leaves,chopped
1 tablespoon parsley chopped
freshly ground black pepper
 Mix all the ingredients together in a large shallow bowl.Set aside in the refrigerator.When ready to serve warm the chermoula through gently in a small pan and pour over the top of the fish. 

Take about 5 or six tomatoes per portion and coat them in some extra virgin olive oil.
Put them in a shallow roasting tray and cook for about 45 minutes at 200C.

When ready to serve heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat until hot then add the butter and olive oil. Place the sea bass in the pan, skin-side down, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin is crisp. Carefully turn the fish over and cook for a further minute or two, or until cooked through.
To present the dish.place a mound of the chickpea and spinach in the centre of each plate carefully lay the sea bass fillet over the top and Spoon over a coating of Chermoula.
Take the roasted tomatoes and place them alongside the fish. 

 The main benefit of seafood comes from its omega-3 fatty acid content. Most of us aren’t getting enough of this essential fatty acid, and because your body doesn’t make it itself, you need to eat it in your diet. Salmon is one of the best fish for 
omega-3 fatty acid content.

Poached samon and three bean salad
with tomato basil and anchovy dressing

This recipe is a development of what I came up with for my Masterchef qualifying round back in 1996.
Serves 4

4 x 175g salmon
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon of  peppercorns


3 cups cannelini or butter beans, drained and rinsed
250g broad beans
250g french beans or runner beans
6 small pequillo peppers julienned
Fresh oregano , basil, parsley and thyme

FOR THE DRESSING - mix together

3 vine ripened tomatoes skinned deseeded and finely chopped

3 Anchovies finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice ( approx. 2 limes)
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Place the salt, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large frying pan with 5 cups ( 40 fl oz ) of water and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. add the salmon, cover and leave for 15 minutes. Remove the fish from the stock, carefully skin and break into strips or large chunks. Toss all the salad ingredients together in half the dressing. Plate up the salmon on a bed of the salad with the rest of the dressing poured over the top.

*For those who are new here, please note that you can click here and check the previous post.


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