Pan Fried Fillets of Sea Bream with Cauliflower and Samphire

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!

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59 thoughts on “Pan Fried Fillets of Sea Bream with Cauliflower and Samphire

  1. 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!

  2. 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

    1. 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.

  3. 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! 🙂

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

      1. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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. 🙂

  10. 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!!

  11. 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.

      1. 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!

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  13. 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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