Pan-fried sea bass with sauteed leeks and salsa verde

Leeks are an underrated vegetable. They’re easy to cook, incredibly versatile and are slightly sweet in flavour making them a great veggie to add to soups or salads. They’re an allium vegetable, closely related to onions and garlic, and contain sulphuric compounds such as allicin which is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral and generally boosts health. Served with pan-fried sea bass, roasted new potatoes and a dollop of tangy salsa verde, this humble vegetable becomes a show-stopper side.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • 2 large leeks, chopped into rounds
  • Roughly 250g baby new potatoes, halved
  • Knob of butter
  • A couple of fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon (optional)

For the salsa verde

  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • Handful of mint
  • Handful of baby gherkins or cornichons
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 8-10 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of anchovies (optional)

Serves 2

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Put the potatoes into a roasting tin with a glug of olive oil, the fresh rosemary and a good grind of salt and pepper and pop in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and golden in places.
  2. While the potatoes cook, make the salsa verde. Pop the herbs, garlic, cornichons and anchovies into a food processor and blitz until chopped up and combined. Alternatively, you can do this by hand for a more chunky texture, if you have the time. Add the mustard and red wine vinegar and mix. Then gradually add the oil until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. About 10 minutes before the potatoes are ready, heat the butter in a large frying pan and add the leeks. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a low heat until soft and golden in places. Stir occasionally to ensure they don’t burn.
  4. If using, place the bacon under the grill at around 220°C to crisp up while you cook the fish.
  5. Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a high heat and sprinkle the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Place the fillets skin side down in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the skin is crispy and you can see the sides of the fish turning opaque. Add a knob of butter to the pan as it cooks and use to baste the fish. Flip the fillet over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until cooked through and flaky.
  6. Serve the fish on a bed of leeks, topped with the crispy bacon, lemon zest and a dollop of salsa verde. Place the potatoes into a serving bowl and gently pull the leaves off the sprig of thyme to garnish. Then tuck in!

 

Samantha x

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