Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Grilled fish is without doubt the best way (ok… my favourite way) to eat fish. The fish retains it’s flavour, it’s lovely and juicy and it just tastes perfectly fresh. This dish is perfect for summer – it’s light, but filling and the fish is so tasty it needs just a simple side salad or two to complement the flavours.

For this dish, I also attempted to gut and descale the fish myself – first time for everything! I reckon the lockdown is a good time to learn more about preparing food from scratch completely… Though usually you’d ask your fishmonger to do this for you!

This is a recipe from Waitrose & Partners Food Magazine.

More with fish: Sea bass with potato and tomato bake | Swordfish tacos with mango & jalapeno salsa | Chipotle salmon with avocado salsa and chilli broccoli

Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Serves 4-6 | Prep 15 mins, plus marinating | Cook 20 mins
Easy | Dairy and Gluten Free

You’ll need:

  • 2 green chillies, stalks trimmed;
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 56g fresh coriander;
  • 50g fresh mint, leaves picked;
  • 4 tsp ground ginger;
  • 5 limes, 1 cut into wedges;
  • 3 whole sea bass (about 300g each), gutted.

Put the chillies, garlic, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, the juice of 3 limes, a good pinch of salt and 1 tbsp water into a blender and whizz to make a smooth salsa. Divide the salsa into 2 portions; put 1 portion in a serving bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge to serve with the fish.

Cut 3 slashes into both sides of each fish, then rub the remaining salsa all over the outside and inside of each fish. Cover, chill and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high. Put the fish on a rack and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side until charred and cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over the juice of 1 lime. Serve immediately with the remaining salsa alongside and the lime wedges for squeezing over.

Nutritional information per serving (4): 1268Kj/300kcals/6.1g fat/1.5g saturated fat/3.7g carbs/1.1g sugars/1.2g fibre/55g protein/0.8g salt.

Original recipe from Waitrsoe & Partners Food, issue August 2020, not available online.

Mary Contini’s Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s chicken)

I love recipes like this when I have people over. If you start cooking a little before your guests arrive, you can pop it in the oven and enjoy a chat and some nibbles while this dish practically takes care of itself. It is very flavoursome and fairly easy to make. You can either joint a whole chicken or use 4x thighs and 4x drumsticks here. This recipe also thought me the secret to a perfectly crispy chicken skin in a stew – a little flour. This was originally from a Waitrose magazine (Aug 2014). The original recipe reckons you can serve up to 6 people, but my hungry crowd of 5 mopped every single last bite here. I’ve made some small changes to the recipe, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

More with chicken: Simple chicken & veg soupRoast chicken with goats’ cheese and watercress stuffingMalaysian-style chicken

Mary Contini’s Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s chicken)

IMG_7312

Serves 4-5 | Prepare 30 mins | Cook 2 hrs
Easy | Dairy-free

You’ll need:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil;
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped;
  • 3 celery sticks, finely chopped;
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped;
  • 1 bay leaf;
  • 100g smoked pancetta, cut into small lardons;
  • 1.5 kg whole chicken, jointed and cut into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings) or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks;
  • 3 tbsp plain flour;
  • 125 ml white wine;
  • 400g fresh or canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped;
  • 3 thyme sprigs;
  • 75g pitted olives, drained;
  • small handful basil leaves.

Before you start preparing your ingredients, salt the chicken liberally and let it sit at room temperature while you prep the rest of the ingredients. This will ensure it’s well seasoned from within.

Preheat the oven to 200C | 180C fan | gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large casserole, add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes to flavour the oil. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the bay leaf and pancetta and cook until the pancetta is golden, about 4-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ‘saffritto’ from the oil and set aside.

Dust the chicken with flour and raise the heat under the casserole. Brown the chicken over a medium-high heat (in batches if needed, one layer at a time), turning until golden and crisp all over. Return all the chicken to the pan and add the wine. Bubble to evaporate off the alcohol, then return the saffritto to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme and olives. Pour over boiling water until the chicken is just covered and season to taste.

Bake, uncovered, for about 1hr – 1hr 20 mins until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender. Before serving, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the basil and serve as suggested above.

I served this with fresh green salad (lettuce, cucumber, spring onion, black olives, sea salt, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil), mash and garlic bread (though if you want to go authentic, opt for a good quality crusty bread).

Original recipe by Waitrose Food Magazine, issue August 2014, no longer available online.