Fishmongers in France are always keen to advise on inventive ways to prepare their fish. My favourite one writes his recipes down for me, correctly assuming that I’m only half listening and will never remember unless he does. This morning he was absent and when I asked his replacement for suggestions on how to cook sea bream, she curtly replied that I could ‘fry it, braise it, BBQ it, steam it, grill it or bake it.’ Her jaded gallic shrug after this exhaustive list seemed to imply that her final unspoken suggestion might be that I should ‘stick it’. Who knew sea bream was so versatile?
However prepared, sea bream is delicious and an abundant source of omega 3 fatty acids, iron, vitamins and minerals.
Ingredients (serves 4)
750g sea bream
1 egg, beaten
150g rolled oats (oat flakes)
2 courgettes, peeled and sliced
1 medium-sized potato
10g parmesan cheese, grated
sea salt, ground black pepper, Espelette pepper
8 black olives, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig of thyme
4 slices of lemon
Coat the fish with the beaten egg and then cover with rolled oats and set aside. Boil the potato and courgettes, drain well and purée. Add the grated cheese, anchovies, seasoning, black olives, olive oil and garlic and mix well over a very gentle heat for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan with a sprig of thyme. Shallow fry the fish for about five minutes on each side and serve with the warm purée and a slice of lemon.