Pan Fried Fillets of Sea Bream with Cauliflower and Samphire

10 Sep

Living temporarily on the south coast of England gives us access to super fresh fish, and to varieties which are not always available to us in Spain. The local fishmonger had beautiful Sea Bream the other day, we usually eat Sea Bass. The flavour is very similar but the bream is a softer, creamier fish.

Unlike Fish Man, who delivers fish to us out of the back of his refrigerated van, this is sold in a shop with all the facilities to clean and prepare the fish for its customers, so I took advantage of this and head the two bream I bought scaled, gutted, de boned and butterflied. What luxury! Also in stock was Samphire, which I had only ever eaten before in a restaurant, so I was curious to try it at home.

I came across a few recipes and discovered that it pretty much only needs warming through and can be replaced by fine asparagus (which would need to be blanched first). The taste was also reminiscent of wild asparagus with the salty tang of the sea. Very nice indeed.

Ingredients (for 2-4 depending on the size of your fish)

  • 2 cleaned sea bream (or any other white fish)
  • About half a small cauliflower, cooked to your liking and then cut into small florets
  • About half a cup of samphire (I removed the “leaves” from the tougher middle stalk) or use a small bunch of fine asparagus cut into small pieces and blanched for a few minutes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil and butter for shallow frying (I used a mixture of the two)

Start by heating the oil (but don´t let it smoke), sprinkle a little salt over your fish and fry the flesh side of the fillets first. When they are nicely browned (a couple of minutes), turn them over to cook the other side. Remove to a warmed plate when ready and turn the heat up high. Quickly sauté the cauliflower for a minute or two until the edges start to turn brown, add the samphire and stir fry for another minute.

Serve the vegetables with the fish and plenty of lemon juice squeezed over. A fresh, light taste of the sea made quickly and simply.

Internet Update – I have my modem and have been promised my line will be connected before midnight. Fingers still crossed that tomorrow I´ll be surfing like before!


59 Responses to “Pan Fried Fillets of Sea Bream with Cauliflower and Samphire”

  1. Chasing Butterflies: Sunshine and freedom September 10, 2012 at 21:28 #

    I´ve never heard of Samphire, thanks you the link for ignorant people like myself :), must see if I can get my hands on some and try it! Great recipe! My fingers and toes are crossed for your internet connection! G 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:51 #

      I´m connected – yay! I´ve only ever seen samphire in the UK, not sure if it is only native there? It´s very good indeed!

      • Chasing Butterflies: Sunshine and freedom September 11, 2012 at 10:56 #

        Yay for connection! Delighted for you, back to normal again! Looking forward to reading more mouth-watering recipes! I´ll look into the smaphire and let you know if I can find it here in Spain! G 🙂

      • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:59 #

        Do let me know if you track it donw (and what it´s called) as it´s sooo good!

      • Chasing Butterflies: Sunshine and freedom September 11, 2012 at 11:02 #

        The translation I´ve come across is hinojo marino, I google imaged it an it seems to be the same but so far no luck on actually finding it! Will keep you informed! G 🙂

      • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 11:06 #

        Ooh – thanks for that. WIll tell Big Man and see if he knows more. He had never eaten it or seen it before but loved it.

  2. Mad Dog September 10, 2012 at 21:32 #

    I love sea bream – i think it’s nicer than sea bass, that with samphire sounds lovely 😉
    I think it’s samphire season – I must get some from the Fish Man in Islington!

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:52 #

      I have to agree, a much more delicate texture and flavour. Really enjoyed the samphire too, but have never seen it outside of the UK.

  3. danny & Sue September 10, 2012 at 21:33 #

    Sounds very very nice. What is Samphire here in Spain. xxx S & D

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:52 #

      Hi there S&D! Don´t think you can get it in Spain, it was certainly a new one to Big Man!

  4. ceciliag September 10, 2012 at 21:51 #

    Well i am a samphire ignoramus too but before i go and look I wanted to say Thank God you wrote that you were only there temporarily, i was afraid that you had decided not to rent this little place out after all! c

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:53 #

      Oh this is most definitely temporary celi. I think we´ll be here little longer than expected, but home is Up the Mountain for us. We´re missing it, of course, but we´re also very much enjoying this time and the project. As for the samphire, I think it might well be uniquely British, but I´d be happy to be corrected if anyone knows any more about it.

  5. Promenade Claire September 10, 2012 at 23:23 #

    Delicious! And my fingers are still crossed which makes typing tricky!

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:57 #

      You can uncross – we´re connected!

      • Promenade Claire September 11, 2012 at 11:01 #

        Ding, ding, ding !!!
        I’ve sent you an email 😉

  6. idiosyncratic eye September 11, 2012 at 00:05 #

    I’d love to have a go at samphire and also, I have often wondered the difference between bream and bass because some recipes seem to use them very interchangeably. Happy cooking and eating! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:57 #

      I hadn´t really realised how different they would be and I am a convert to bream. Will have to eat plenty more of it before we leave these shores 🙂

  7. gardenfreshtomatoes September 11, 2012 at 02:29 #

    I’ve eaten samphire, but never cooked it – or seen it available for purchase, even. Sounds completely marvelous…
    So, can we assume that the Internet Gods have smiled on you?

  8. ChgoJohn September 11, 2012 at 05:00 #

    This sounds delicious, Tanya, and so easy to prepare. It’s another of your one pot wonders. I’m telling you, you’re playing with fire. Keep this up and you’ll be up on that mountain of yours cooking with one skillet and a hot-plate. My advice is to burn a meal or two. 🙂
    Good luck with the modem tomorrow!

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:56 #

      Hi John – connected at last so soon I´ll be able to start catching up! Good advice from you indeed – or I could just write a one pot cokkery book instead 😉

  9. Eha September 11, 2012 at 06:44 #

    Love that fresh, simple combination. Samphire can be picked off the coastline in many parts of southern Australia: have only cooked it a few times, but love the consistency and sea-y tang! Difficult to get here inland from Sydney also!

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 10:55 #

      Ooh that´s interesting, was beginning to think you could only get hold of it in the UK. I guess you just need to know what you´re looking for!

      • Eha September 12, 2012 at 03:33 #

        Oh, I watch a lot of local foodie shows and have seen long segments from our island state of Tasmania and coastline of South Australia: so it must be a cold weather thing 🙂 ! The gathering looks a fun thing to do IF the sun is shining!

  10. Marianne September 11, 2012 at 07:52 #

    Mmmmm … delicious!

  11. thecompletecookbook September 11, 2012 at 09:37 #

    This is what I call a taste explosion meal – simple flavours packed full of flavour – so as not to bore you with scrumity, I shall say this is yummilicious!
    🙂 Mandy xo
    PS. Crossing everything that you are connected long before midnight.

  12. Tandy September 11, 2012 at 13:56 #

    I have wanted to try samphire for ages, but we could not find any in Scotland 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 15:49 #

      Such a shame, I think it´s usually a good place for it…

  13. trevorhunt September 11, 2012 at 14:41 #

    Sounds like another surefire winner! We love fish. I caught over 30 mackerel off the beach last month. A great fish to fillet and smoke. When we were on a caravanning holiday in Cornwall in July we had a site near an estuary close to Padstow. Just 5 caravans allowed. I bought some sea bass and then cut some fresh marsh samphire from the mudflats on the estuary. OMG! Delicious! Hope the houses are coming on . Trevor.

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 15:49 #

      Wow – that sounds amazing and you can´t get fresher than that! All going well here, thanks. Missed the Wartime Farm last week but am determined to watch it this week!

  14. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen September 11, 2012 at 15:08 #

    Funny.. when I read you’ll be “surfing” I had a picture in my mind of you on a board flying over water!! What an excellent recipe, I had heard about sea bream, but am too cautious to try something new without a thumbs up. I will give this one a try the next time it’s at the market. I also had never heard of samphire.. so now I’m off to discover what that’s all about. Glad to have you back online.. what a relief that must be for you! xx

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 15:52 #

      I´d be a serious danger on a real surfboard! Much better from the safety of home 😉 So pleased to be connected again I do have to say!

      • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen September 11, 2012 at 15:56 #

        I’ve actually started to feel a “loss” of sorts when I can’t read blogs.. it’s got a definite place in my heart:D

  15. TBM September 11, 2012 at 16:15 #

    This meal looks delicious. I hope all is going well!

  16. bitsandbreadcrumbs September 11, 2012 at 16:28 #

    And yet another samphire neophyte here…I’ve never heard of it until now, but it sounds so exotic! This dish looks wonderful and reminds me how I wish we had access to really, really fresh fish because I love it. So glad you are back on the airwaves in full force, Tanya! It’s great to have you back. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza September 11, 2012 at 16:50 #

      Thank you so much – it´s good to be back! Maybe I should start a Samphire export business next 😉

  17. restlessjo September 11, 2012 at 20:10 #

    I do like to live and learn. Samphire, huh? The recipe even sounds simple enough for me, if I can hunt some down.

    • Chica Andaluza September 12, 2012 at 12:08 #

      A very simple and straightforward way to cook, but grand enough to serve to guests!

  18. narf77 September 11, 2012 at 23:11 #

    I take it the net installation went according to plan? Good to have you back soldier!

    • Chica Andaluza September 12, 2012 at 12:07 #

      Yes, all went well, it´s great to be back!

      • narf77 September 12, 2012 at 12:20 #


  19. Christine Hamaty-Hughes September 12, 2012 at 14:40 #

    Reblogged this on Gourmet Anise and commented:
    This looks amazing and a nice choice for all my friends on a low-carb diet.
    It seems like a good challenge for a Friday or Saturday night. Thanks Chica for the recipe! -Christine

  20. spicegirlfla September 13, 2012 at 01:12 #

    Honestly I can’t imagine what I would do if left with a fish to scale and debone and GUT! oh my, I so bow down to you Tanya!! Glad you could get a little break from that nasty work and whip up this amazing dish!!

    • Chica Andaluza September 13, 2012 at 04:17 #

      Thanks Linda – funnily enough it doesn´t bother me doing it (I guess I´m used to it now) but it was lovely to have someone else take over for a change!

  21. Pendle Stitches September 17, 2012 at 18:05 #

    We had samphire at our wedding dinner and it’s totally delicious. It was served with brown shrimp and wild seabass. Totally delicious and your dinner reminds me of it.
    Sadly our local shops don’t stock samphire. You can get it in morecambe which is about an hour away. You can also get their wonderful brown shrimp there too. Thankfully our local market has started stocking brown shrimp. Yumsk! Perfect potted in butter and served warm with fresh homemade bread, toasted.

    • Chica Andaluza September 18, 2012 at 11:23 #

      What a perfect wedding dinner menu! And I know you looked gorgeous 🙂 I adore potted shrimps and really need to go to Morecambe Bay at some point!

      • Pendle Stitches September 18, 2012 at 17:46 #

        You’re awfully kind. Dinner was lovely, but then it was at Northcote Manor!
        If you ever do come to the north west and fancy meeting up….do shout. You go right past us to get to Morecambe!

  22. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise September 22, 2012 at 21:46 #

    My husband is a big fan of sea Bass, so that is what her buys most of the time but bream sounds interesting and the idea of serving it with cauliflower is a refreshing change that I should try soon

    • Chica Andaluza September 23, 2012 at 10:30 #

      It was new to me and I couldn´t believe how different (and wonderful) it was!

  23. silver price September 30, 2012 at 21:02 #

    Definition: There are two types of samphire – marsh and rock. Marsh samphire is the more common and resembles tiny shoots of asparagus but grows on muddy, sandy flats, often around estuaries and tidal creeks and as you can imagine from the location it has a delicious salty taste.Rock samphire is much trickier and harder to get to, requiring a huge amount of risk taking as it is usually in high, out of the way places. Rock Samphire was even mentioned in Shakespeare’s King Lear – “Half-way down hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!” Needless to say, most samphire is of the marsh variety. The name is a corruption of “Saint Pierre” – St. Peter – the patron saint of fishermen. Though it can be eaten raw it is delicious lightly steamed and served with butter and makes a great accompaniment to fish and seafood.


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