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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Creamed Cauliflower Soup

Who needs bouquets when your loved one brings you cauliflower?!

Recently Big Man came home with one of his horticultural “surprises” for me.  Five cauliflowers!  We both love cauliflower, but after giving some away and eating cauliflower with vinaigrette, buttered cauliflower and cauliflower cheese, we were still looking at a cooked cauliflower in the fridge wondering what to do with it.

Inspired by a potato and garlic soup recipe over at Rufus´ Food and Spirits Guide, this cauliflower´s destiny was decided.  Of course, I was in a rush and didn´t have exactly the ingredients to hand, so I made do.

I loved the idea of the roasted garlic, but as I had nothing else to cook in the oven, it felt extravagant to turn the oven on just to roast one head of garlic.   I decided to experiment and try to cook it in the microwave to see how it turned out.  I usually use my microwave to store my bread in (a kind of electrical bread bin if you like!) so for me to actually cook something in my microwave is rather unusual…

I put a whole head of garlic in on medium for about 3 minutes and I was amazed when it was done.  Of course, there were no lovely toasty edges, but the garlic smelt great and each clove was perfectly soft and ready to pop out of its skin to use.

I put the cloves of garlic in a saucepan with a little olive oil and warmed them through whilst mashing them with the back of a spoon.  I added the cooked cauliflower broken into florets, a teaspoon of ground cumin seeds and covered with vegetable stock (although water would also be fine).  After bringing it to the boil I reduced the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

In the absence of cream I then added half a cup of milk and a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese and then blended with a stick blender.

A few left over rashers of bacon which I also cooked in the microwave – I was feeling adventurous – were cut into small pieces and sprinkled over to finish the dish off.  I put a kitchen towel on a plate, put the bacon on top and covered with another sheet of kitchen towel and cooked on high for 5 minutes.  This gave me beautifully dry, crisp bacon, and no greasy pan to wash.

Perfect!  And I now officially love my microwave.