Pan fried Sea bass, chervil roots, Mediterranean vegetables
Sea bass is something of a British favourite these days, it seems to me. I guess the soft white flesh that lends itself so well when filleted is fairly ‘user friendly’.
For me, fillets such as these are just the ultimate fast food and give a delicious but quick meal.
On this particular occasion, Rocket was in the driving seat in the kitchen and he had in mind a simple dish using some Mediterranean veg. These veg spring to mind as we are so often there at the end of the summer when peppers, courgettes and aubergines are in abundance. Someone once asked me what Courgettes are called in French…back to the tale.
I call to mind our meandering through our local market in Southern France, in the brilliant sunshine and especially the covered area where local people bring the weeks yield from their kitchen gardens. The veg are all the more beautiful because they are misshapen but they have been tended with great love, care and a fierce pride in this tradition of ‘growing your own’ that has not yet been lost in our little Pyrenean haven. We see the glut of peppers, and pick some up to roast long and low until they are sweet and soft, masses of tomatoes of all shapes and sizes… courgettes and aubergines. All this draws me to the conclusion, on this drizzly November day, that these are sunshine veg.
Last week, when our summer break is an increasingly distant memory, we wandered in Borough Market near us in London. A ‘new’ ingredient to us in the form of Chervil roots, appeared before us. They said ‘French’ but I’ve never seen them there…could be a regional thang. Rocket was instantly curious and when he saw they could go well with fish he made up his mind that these would be a part of his sunshine supper.
Something else that says sunshine to me is Chorizo, again a prevalent ingredient in the Pyrenees with that melange of dishes neither French nor Spanish, but Basque, Occitan, or Catalan…or simply Pyrenean. I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend DJ Ozz this week, he is having a slightly rubbish time lately but also because he loves Chorizo, – more than any man rightly should. We have consumed many types together in France and Spain and here in the UK. I suppose over 20 years of friendship (DJ nearly had to take his socks off to work that out the other day) we’ve eaten many, many meals together including his infamous lemon tart…back to the tale
The veg were cooked ‘off’ first, Rocket blistered and blackened the outside of the peppers over the gas flames then wrapped them in cling film until they had cooled, he then took the skins off, deseeded them and cut them into strips. They were dressed in a little olive oil and warmed in a pan before serving.
The aubergines and courgettes were sliced and put to the griddle pan, to give a smokey tenderness and pretty griddle lines.
The curious chervil roots were, in line with instructions given in our market, first boiled then pan roasted in a little butter, and then some chopped Chorizo was added for it’s sweet, smoky flavour and the drizzle of pimenton rich pan juices they provide. The roots, were mild, slightly sweet with a faint hint of parsnip but with the texture of a soft potato – I was taken aback, they were delicious.
Finally the bass, skin side down into a hot dry pan for just a few moments before adding a little butter or olive oil and gently turning the fillet. Rocket garnished with amaranth leaves – more for colour than flavour..they are so pretty. We served some olive bread from Borough market alongside. Then we plated, and ated.
There it is, sunshine on a cloudy day.