Fancy Fish: My wild sea bream with parsley sauce.
Crispy, brown skin – tender white meat. My wild sea bream with haricot beans and parsley sauce is a light dish, and it is simple. Very simple. Just a couple of beans served with butter and parsley. Beautiful fillets of fish, dressed with a zesty and fresh parsley sauce. Not much effort goes into making this dish that will bring colour and freshness to your table. Summer can’t come soon enough.
I know, I know – it has been a while. A long while, actually. Got really heavily involved with research – met amazing people – and realised that I missed food. A lot. So here we are again. Starting off where we left it (welcome, if this is your first time). Same spirit, different plate. This one is a gift from my amazing friend Sevak, who’s a ceramicist. He didn’t make it – but you can check out all of his amazing work here.
Gutting a fish isn’t for everyone. I get that. But I’d strongly recommend you gave it a go. At least once. I think you learn to appreciate ingredients a lot more, when you understand how much effort goes into processing them. The way that we shop for food has removed us in many ways from the produce we consume. It’s easy to forget that fish – like chicken wings or a sausage – is made from things that used to live, and then stopped doing exactly that – so that you could consume them. But it is true – and it is a fact we should be aware of. There is nothing poetic to be said here – nothing to justify the fact that animals’ lives are ended – so that we may experience culinary pleasure. Make of that what you will. I find it increasingly hard to consolidate my own actions with this truth.
One way out of this problem, for me, is to only use meat and fish when it is worth it – no fish sticks, or canned sausage. To make sure that the animal is at the center of the plate – and quite frankly, I’ve rarely had sea bream as nice as in this little dish. It’s simplicity is deliberate: some beans, some softened tomatoes, zingy and fresh parsley sauce – every ingredient on this plate is meant to make the sea bream shine.
My wild sea bream with parsley sauce
- A sea bream (2 fillets per person)
- Fresh flat parsley (2 hands per person, chopped)
- Garlic (fresh, 2 cloves)
- Cherry tomatoes (1 hand per person)
- Haricot beans (canned, 2 hands per person)
- Butter (about 1 tbsp per person)
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice (half a lemon per person, ish)
- Sprinkle the fillets with salt, leave to rest for 10 minutes, this will firm the meat – pat dry with kitchen paper
- For the sauce, work the parsley, some lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, garlic, salt and olive oil into a paste, discard of any long fibers is necessary. For two servings I’d suggest you use about two hands of fresh flat parsley leaves, the juice of half a lemon, and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste. Add more oil if necessary to achieve a runny paste (store in a sealed container in the fridge).
- Heat up a couple of table spoons of olive oil in a pan, add the cherry tomatoes (it’s easiest on the vine) – sprinkle with some salt and add a bit of crushed garlic (and some fresh rosemary if you have it) – lower the heat and allow to cook and slightly char at the bottom.
- Wash the haricot beans, and cook them in a pan with some salted water. Drain and mix them with some finely chopped parsley, butter, salt, finely chopped chilli and a bit of lemon-zest.
- Heat up some of the oil in a pan – until smoking hot. Put the fillets in, skin-side down, and firmly press them down to prevent bending. Shake the pan occasionally and let the fish fry on the skin side until the pink meat starts to turn white. Quickly turn and fry for about half a minute on the meat-side. Squeeze some lemon juice over the skin, turn again and fry for a couple of seconds.
- To serve, mix together the fried tomatoes and beans, plate the fish and drizzle over the sauce.