Fish of the month
Black bream with warm tomato and caper salsa
This is a lovely way to serve slightly stronger flavoured, fatty fish such as bream. Concentrated flavours of tangy tomatoes, piquant capers and pungent garlic cut through the oily, richness of the fish and are reminiscent of Spanish and southern Italian dishes. The sauce is embarrassingly simple to make and can be prepared well in advance but delivers a fantastic dish.
2 black bream, descaled, filleted and pin boned
1 clove garlic
8 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs capers
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
I prefer to fillet my fish as it makes it easier to eat and less scary for occasional fish eaters. However, with thinner fish such as bream you can also cut off the fins and head, cut deep slashes in the sides and then fry or grill them whole. Cooking will take a little longer and you have to be careful not to overcook them.
Put the oil and garlic in a small pan over a low heat and fry the garlic until it is just turning golden. Add the tomatoes and capers and simmer gently until the tomatoes are soft (about 10 minutes) then keep warm. Season to taste. If using salted capers (rather than brined) you may need to add a small squeeze of lemon juice to give the sauce a bit of tartness. Add a splash of water if the pan has become too dry and oily. Heat a large frying pan until almost smoking. Cut three deep slashes through the skin of the bream fillets, rub the skin with a little salt and then rub with olive oil. Put the fillets into the pan, skin side down, and press them down for the first 20 seconds or so (until they stop trying to curl up). Leave the fillets to cook for about 2 minutes, until they have cooked 2/3 of the way through (the cooked meat will have turned white). Remove the pan from the heat and turn the fillets over carefully (the skin should be golden and crisp) and leave them to cook for another minute or so Plate the fillets in a stack with the warm salsa spooned over the top and serve immediately. Ideal accompaniments are boiled new potatoes, lightly crushed and dressed with spring onions and olive oil, and steamed green beans.