Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Especially for me - Sea bass with Wilted Spinach and Mushrooms
Phill is away. This means self indulgence when it comes to cooking the evening meal. And before you think I am some sort of needy woman (I am, like!) it's only because in this house, with the exception of Lola and her tuna sandwich fixation and, of late, Finn's realisation that mussels are, actually, quite nice and an excuse to play with your food, this house is definitely 'soleless', 'o - fish - ally' seafood unfriendly. And here's me. I adore fish, I adore seafood, but the only way I eat it is if we go out to a restaurant and then I can eat what I want to eat. So when Phill is away, I make Lola and Finn some pasta and then I retire to the kitchen and make myself something from the fish stash I have in my freezer, bought previously with a mind to cook for myself when I am (sort of) home alone.
I find it frankly incredible that it has taken me over a year of blogging before I have got around to recreating a Richard Corrigan recipe. This is just plain wrong and needs putting right, today. I adore his cookbook 'The Clatter of Forks and Spoons', not only because of its reference to one of my favourite writers, James Joyce, but also because the title reminds me of eating at home when I was young and the cutlery was put onto the table in a handful, instead of being carefully placed aside and above placemats. It's informal and it means home. And it goes without saying that I adore it because it is a superb read, jam packed with super recipes and a window into the philosophy of simple, responsibly sourced, ethical food practice that Richard Corrigan is known for.
Anyway, after 'bigging up' his cookbook for him (like he needs it) this recipe is actually from the book 'Cookery School' which accompanied the series were novices are taught the tricks of the trade and how to produce great food. The only alteration I have made from the original is that I added a squeeze of lemon to the sauce, such is my love affair with all things citrus, and I had to use chicken stock rather than the fish used below. If I were making this for more than me, and it could happen sometime, then I would use the fish stock, though the sauce was tasty with using chicken stock, so, it's up to you.
What you will find below is the quantity to serve four. I halved it for me, and I ate it without accompaniment. I would be serving something like Jersey Royals with this and maybe some green beans to eke it out to serve 4 as a main meal.
This took about 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Real fast food if you ask me.
Sea Bass with Wilted Spinach and Mushrooms, adapted from 'Cookery School' from Channel 4/Richard Corrigan
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad... I wish. let's just say it serves 4 people who like fish with an accompaniment
50 g (1.8oz) Unsalted butter
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 Shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 180g sea bass fillets, skin on and scored
150 g (5.3oz) Button mushrooms, sliced
50 ml (1.8fl oz) Fresh fish stock (though I used chicken stock for ease)
250 g (8.8oz) Baby spinach leaves
4 tbspCrème fraîche
1 Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
Heat a large frying pan and put in 30g butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Once hot, add the shallots and cook over a low to medium heat for 3 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Meanwhile heat another large frying pan and add the remaining oil and butter. Once the oil is hot put in the sea bass fillets and cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes on each side. Always cook fish presentation-side down first. In this instance it should be skin-side down first.
Add the mushrooms to the pan of shallots and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the fish stock and allow to reduce for 1 minute before adding the baby spinach. If the liquid evaporates, add some more stock.
Once the spinach has wilted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice if you are like me.
Place the wilted spinach and mushrooms in the centre of each plate and put the sea bass fillets on top. Serve with the lemon wedges and a garnish of parsley.
And have a glass of something chilled and 'Sancerre like' if you fancy it. Unsurprisingly, I fancied it!