Month: August 2015

Sea Bass, crushed potatoes and beurre blanc

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Sounds fancy eh?!

It’s not as difficult as you might think. If you have someone to impress, or just fancy something a bit indulgent, this is perfect. The entire dish can be whipped up in less than 30mins and its sooooo tasty!

Beurre Blanc is a smooth creamy butter sauce which goes amazingly with fish. It is chock full of butter so definitely not for those who are counting the calories!

Get creative with the fish you use. I’ve used Sea Bass, but Bream would work too, or maybe monkfish or perhaps some lovely Dover Sole. Experiment, it’s what cooking is all about.

Ingredients – Serves 2

2 Sea Bass fillets
8 New Potatoes
8 Asparagus spears
Sea salt
Olive oil
Knob of butter

Beurre Blanc

2 shallots – finely chopped
60ml water
60ml white wine vinegar
60ml dry white wine
125g cold unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped chives to garnish

Put the shallots, water, white wine vinegar and white wine into a pan and bring to the boil. Boil it steadily for about 10-15mins until the liquid has reduced and only a couple of tablespoons remain. It is optional to sieve the shallots out now, but I don’t. Chop the butter into cubes and add it a cube at a time, whisking until its combined and becomes a thick, smooth sauce. Set aside and keep warm.

Fill a saucepan with boiling water and add salt and the new potatoes. These will take around 20 mins to cook. 10 mins into the potato cooking time heat a frying pan over a medium/high heat. Brush the skin of the sea bass with olive oil and season with salt, then add the fish to the hot pan, skin side down. Cook for 4 mins and then turn over, the skin should be crispy. Cook the other side for 1 minute and leave the fish to one side, skin side up to rest.

Add the asparagus to the potato water with 5 mins to go (or you could steam it separately – I’m trying to keep it simple!) and when tender, remove them and drain the potatoes.

Crush the new potatoes with the butter and check for seasoning.

Serve the dish with the fish sat on the crushed potatoes and the asparagus on the side, with the beurre blanc sauce poured generously around the dish and garnish with the chopped chives.

OPTIONAL – In the picture below you will notice that there are a few pearl scallops dotted around the plate, they are totally optional – with those I just fried them briefly in a little butter for about a minute. Some brown shrimps or cockles would work very well too.

Sea Bass

Courgetti and Crispy Skin

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After having Rodlet, I decided I wanted to eat a bit healthier and reduce the amount of pasta I had become accustomed to pigging out on!

Part of this plan involved Courgetti. Long thin strips of courgette to replace noodles or spaghetti. I was dubious at first. Courgette is not pasta. Nevertheless, I tried it, and I’m so very glad I did. Courgetti features a lot in our meals nowadays and I even started to crave it.

Courgetti can be made very easily using a spiralizer, a clever piece of kit which can be bought online for less than £20, but it can also be made using a bog standard box grater. Simply lay the grater on its side, large holes facing upwards, and run the courgette lengthways along it, making long thin strips of courgette. Voila!

I tend to use Courgetti as a replacement for pasta when it would have been served alongside something else, like fish or a meaty Bolognese sauce. Two of my favourite dishes both feature crispy skinned Salmon and Courgetti, but with different sauces.

Pan frying salmon fillets makes them soooo delicious I cant even begin to explain it. The skin goes beautifully crisp and the outside flesh gets a lovely crust while the inside of the salmon is perfectly juicy and soft. Yum. I’ll explain how below, and then give you two ideas for sauces to serve on your courgetti with it. The fish could be replaced by chicken but I urge you to try the salmon – you wont be disappointed.

Pan Fried Salmon – Serves 2

2 Salmon fillets – skin on
1 tablespoon oil – I use olive oil or coconut oil
Pinch of Salt

Heat your frying pan over a medium high heat. Rub the salmon all over with the oil, concentrating on covering the skin, and season with salt.

Place the salmon down in the pan, skin side down and cook, without moving it, for around 3/4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. You will notice the fish changing colour as it cooks. Turn the fish over and cook the other side for 1 minute. Then turn it onto its side (if you can) for another minute, and repeat with the other side. Flip it back onto the skin side for 30 seconds and then remove the fillets. Place them on a plate with the skin up and rest for 2/3 mins. The residual heat will finish cooking the centre of the salmon and when you cut into it you’ll see how juicy and soft it is! My mouth is watering now…!

To cook your Courgetti, just toss it in the pan the fish was cooked in until its hot, about 1/2 mins. You don’t want to overcook it or it will turn to mush.

You could make a homemade pesto that would go with this beautifully, simply by smashing a handful of basil, a clove of garlic, a handful of toasted pine nuts and some sea salt in a pestle and morter. Then add some grated parmesan and enough extra virgin olive oil to loosen it. Toss with the Courgetti and top with some more pine nuts and shavings of parmesan. I like to serve this with roasted tomatoes.

Another idea is to make a quick fresh tomato sauce by gently frying chopped onion and garlic with some salt until soft and adding chopped cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes until they’re soft and have released their juice. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a handful of chopped basil and toss through the Courgetti.

I hope you give this a go, please let me know how it goes!

Salmon courgettiSa;mon Courgetti tomato