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Pan Seared Seabass Niçoise
This Friday instead of fish and chips try this alternative fish dish out!


Salade niçoise is a salad that originated in the French city of Nice. It is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives and anchovies or tuna, dressed with olive oil. It has been popular worldwide since the early 20th century and has been prepared and discussed by many chefs. Delia Smith called it "one of the best combinations of salad ingredients ever invented". I must say as a footnote, this is my take on it possibly unconventional and may divide opinion depending who you talk too, so much has been made of this simple salad!


As we turn into spring there is a shift in some of the ingredients we use. Here rather than the heavier starches and robust root vegetables we change for lighter options. I have chosen this dish as it is a personal favorite of mine as we serve this regularly during our spring and summer months.

 

The key to this dish is in the preparation and sourcing of the ingredients. One of my most read and well used books I have is a book called Keep it simple! The recipe preparation in the book are far from simple and a little time consuming to do but the finish itself is. This dish is along those lines prepare and source the ingredients well in advance and the plating up part will be swift and look very for want of a better word “cheffie”

Recipe

  • For 4 people

 

Ingredients

  • New Potatoes 12
  • Saffron pinch
  • Vegetable stock
  • Chorizo 1 horseshoe
  • Olives (best quality you can get) 20
  • Cherry tomato 12
  • Red onion 1
  • Garlic cloves 3
  • Spinach 500g
  • Green beans 225g
  • Roasted artichoke hearts (tinned is fine) 4
  • Seabass fillet 4
  • Reduced Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive oil

 

Chefs note – prepare all the ingredients separately, but warm all together. Pre heat oven to 160 degrees (fan)

 

Method

  • Top and tail the new potato, cover with vegetable stock, saffron and a pinch of salt, boil, and simmer until cooked (around 15 to 20mins). Take out of the stock and reserve.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil with a touch of salt in. only tail the green beans. Drop into the boiling water and boil for 45 seconds to a minute (as we want them with a bit of bit.) drain and run cold water on them as quick as possible to keep the color and chill them down, dry off and reserve.
  • For the red onion, place in an oven proof dish, with a touch of salt, garlic cloves, a touch of olive oil and a touch of the balsamic, cover and roast for 45 mins, check after half an hour as the cooking process will depend on the size of the onion . ultimately you want it to be soft. Lift out of the oven. Chill, peel, and quarter. You should have some nice onion petals.
  • For the chorizo, peel the outer skin off and slice on an angle (thumb nail size) and roast in the oven again covered in the oven for 15 mins. reserve
  • For the spinach, warm a non-stick frying pan up on the stove, drizzle a little olive oil in and add the spinach, add a grind of salt and a splash of water, the spinach will wilt quickly, again drain to get any excess water off and keep in fridge.
  • Score the seabass skin.
  • Drain and cut artichokes in half. If using tinned, drain off and pat the artichokes dry and cut in half.


Putting it all Together, the simple bit!

  • Have the oven set at about 160 degrees and have a non-stick pan on the stove warming as you need the pan to be hot to sear the seabass.
  • On a roasting tray, place in lines the potatoes, green beans, red onions, chorizo nuggets, olive, and artichokes and with the spinach, give it a little squeeze and make 4 balls. It should look like a Mondrian painting!
  • Dress the plate with a squiggle of the reduced balsamic
  • Place all the roasting tray of ingredients in the oven and start to warm.
  • Make sure the non-stick frying pan is hot, season with a little salt the seabass, drizzle the pan with a little oil place in the bass skin side down and start to sear. We want the skin to be crisp so we will only turn it once so give it a good sear! After about 2 to 3 mins turn over, add the cherry tomatoes cook through.
  • Lift the tray out of the oven and start plating up the ingredients, dotting them around the plate, top with seabass and cherry tomato. Add a little grind of sea salt and drizzle oil to finish.


Chef note – the picture we slice a courgette and cut out the centre and place the green beans through it. There are many variations you can use, different flavoured olives, change the cherry tomatoes for sun blush tomatoes, use a nice lemon infused olive oil for a citrus zing, salmon and tuna work well with this salad, so does chicken or steak. The list is endless!

 

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