2 November 2011

Sea bream with spiced couscous

I've just been to Hastings. As well as checking Bexhill's excellent De La Warr Pavilion I was kindly gifted three fish (two bream, one bass) by someone big in the sea-fishing game with a big freezer and a kind heart. I took them home frozen: stiff and leaden and kept cool on the sluggish journey back to Liverpool St. with frozen bottles of water. With one bream and one bass somehow stuffed into the freezer for future use I left a bream out to cook the following day.

I'd been instructed to cook the sea bream simply and after reading about it's geographical spread and presence in the Mediterranean as well as the South of England I opted for something vaguely Middle Eastern and fairly faff-less to go with it. Couscous mixed with preserved lemons, chickpeas and cauliflower, flavoured with cumin and dried chilli and dressed with olive oil and sherry vinegar.

  • sea bream or similar
  • couscous
  • can of chickpeas
  • cauliflower
  • olive oil, sherry vinegar
  • preserved lemons, cumin, dried chilli

    Put your cauliflower florets in boiling water until cooked (but still with a good crunch). Rehydrate your couscous. Chop some preserved lemons. Toast some whole cumin and chilli flakes (can't recommend Turkish kirmizi biber highly enough in this department). Open a can of chickpeas and rinse them. Combine everything in a bowl and stir. Perk with oil and vinegar. Sorted.

    Chickpeas in couscous are wicked! Such a great switch-up texture wise. I'd recommend heartily. The other ingredients are your standard middle eastern-ish flavours and gel nicely. This mix is best served warm but not hot.

    Grill your fish (with a sprinkle of salt and a little lick of olive oil) and serve with the couscous.

    Delicious! Sea bream is quite a meaty fish - a nice white dense meat with an appealingly moderate flavour. I think grilling it is a good choice which allows the fish itself to be foregrounded and focussed upon. I might try roasting its twin or frying it in steaks, as the one thing grilling leads to is a lack of crispy bits.

    Thanks for the fish Shaun.

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