Sea bass with beans, peas & basil
An easy, quick and healthy dinner tonight, including an ingredient I barely ever cook with – sea bass! I rarely cook with ‘proper’ fish (by ‘proper’ I mean fillets of salmon, tuna, cod, swordfish, plaice etc) because I have yet to find a fishmonger in my area. I refuse to by the substandard, flimsy, tasteless fish offered at an insanely cheap price in my local “super”market, Morrisons (my local one is utterly, utterly sh*t). If I really crave it on a week night, my only choice is to swing by M&S after work – no where else is open past 6pm. Fine, but not as good as a fishmonger by any stretch of the imagination! On the weekend I have a little more time to wander to some of the great food markets London has to offer, but I still am desperately in need of a local fishmonger. And a butcher for that matter. Must. Find.
But back to tonight’s dish. Seabass, from M&S. Pretty good, not quite as thick and meaty as I might have found in a fishmongers (although sea bass isn’t as robust as other white fish varieties), but for the price/convenience/taste I couldn’t really complain – around £5 for two fillets.
I wanted to serve this with an Italian-inspired hot bean salad, and grabbed some perfect peas in the pod and some Boston (fine green) beans to pair with the contents of a simple but handy tin of butter beans. A little basil, lemon, garlic and grana padano was all they needed to shine.
You will need:
2 sea bass fillets, seasoned
A few large handfuls of peas in the pod, podded, to gain around 100g fresh peas
100g fine green (I used Boston variety) beans
A tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Around 20 basil leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbspn grated grana padano
1 – Start by putting a large pan of salted water on to boil; add the fine green beans once bubbling and blanch for a few minutes before adding the peas
2 – Cook the beans and peas for a further couple of minutes, until only just cooked through; drain
3 – Meanwhile, get your sea bass on; heat some oil in a wide non stick frying pan and place your seasoned fillets skin-down in the pan once the oil is hot
4 – Cook the sea bass fillets for around 4-5 minutes, leaving them well alone in the pan so the skin crisps up; flip for 30 seconds towards the end of cooking if you like the flesh to get a little golden too (I do!)
5 – Back to the beans; heat another pan and add some oil, then toss in the blanched peas and beans before stirring in the butter beans, garlic and half the basil leaves
6 – Cook the beans for a minute until the garlic is cooked through and the butter beans heated through before transferring to a plate/serving bowl and squeezing over the lemon juice, adding some seasoning and scattering over the remaining basil and the cheese
7 – Plate up the fish and serve with the beans, new potatoes and extra lemon wedges