Thursday, August 23, 2007

Seared Sea Bass Fillet with Plum and Star Anise Compote

Alternatives: Cod, Halibut, Salmon

4 portions of fish fillet, weighing about 110g-175g (4-6oz), with skin on, scaled
Sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
Roughly chopped fresh chives, to garnish

For the compote
2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, grated
1 small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
30g/1oz butter
500g/1lb2oz red plums, halved and stoned
60g/2oz caster sugar
2 whole star anise
1/2 – 1 Tbsp balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper

Preheat to 240c/450f. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the compote, cook the ginger, onion and garlic gently in butter, without browning, until tender. Add all the remaining ingredients except the vinegar salt and pepper. Cook gently over a low heat, uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the plums are tender but still holding their shape more or less. Stir in the vinegar, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Re-heat gently, until warm rather then hot, just before serving.

Put a heavy ovenproof pan or griddle over a high heat to heat through. Pat the fish dry on kitchen paper and then brush the skin side with oil. Place, skin side down, on the pan or griddle and leave for 2 min. While it cooks, brush the upper side with oil. Turn over, immediately pop in the oven and roast for a further 3 min.

Warm up the compote. Serve skin side up, sprinkled with chives, with the compote on the side.

This one was good. We gave it an 8 out of 10. I decided to use Salmon, and the flavors worked really well together. One of the things I like about this dish is that it is incredibly quick to make, even though it tastes extravagant. The part that takes the longest is preheating the oven (it requires a really hot oven). This is a dish that could easily be made after you come home from work. You could even stone and halve the plums the night before, but you wouldn’t have to.

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