She would have been right, as I had been to the fishmonger in the morning and bought a sea bream, intending to steam it with dried lily flowers, cloud ear fungus and soy sauce, but following this little exchange, I decided to indulge her.
I remember many years ago going to a restaurant called Lemonia with my big sister, where we sat close to Bob Hoskins. We had a lovely dish of griddled sardines, fragrant with lemons and olive oil and I wanted to try and replicate this. In fact, I think there are few things in life nicer than tucking into a big plate of really fresh, griddled fish with a big wedge of lemon, some decent company and preferably a sea view.
We ended up sharing this dish of griddled sea bream, some slow-cooked chick peas with chorizo and tomato and garlic and rosemary roasted potatoes. The eldest made pizza using this Cook Italian pizza kit from Tesco, which was better than I had expected it to be!
Last year on our holiday to Tuscany, I visited a local producer (Novo Frantoio) and horrified my husband by returning with a 3 litre can of olive oil (I had packed light intentionally). Here it is:
|Ridiculously tasty olive oil|
- 1 sea bream, gutted and scaled
- 1/2 lemon, cut into slices
- Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
- Ground black pepper
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh basil
- Plenty of extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the bream and pat dry with kitchen towels. Using a sharp knife, slash each side three times, taking care not to cut through the bone
- Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the cavity of the fish, then stuff with 3-4 slices of lemon and 2-3 sprigs of fresh basil leaves
- Place the fish in a dish and pour over extra virgin olive oil to coat the fish. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper on each side, then leave in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to marinate if you have time
- Heat a griddle or frying pan until very hot. Remove the fish from the fridge and sprinkle salt over both sides, before adding to the griddle. Using a spatula, press down on the fish periodically and griddle for 6-7 minutes on one side
- Carefully lift the fish with a spatula (I use two) and turn over. Griddle on a high heat for a further 6-7 minutes, or until the flesh turns opaque throughout
- Remove the fish from the heat and place on a warmed serving dish. Add the freshly grated lemon zest to the fish and pour the oil from the pan over the fish. Add a little fresh olive oil, then garnish with a few fresh basil leaves
- Serve immediately
|Lemon and Basil Griddled Sea Bream|