Finding the start of the new year uninspiring, The Northgate’s Greig Young took himself off to the shops, came back with a bag full of goodies and shares with us the results of his inspiration
Christmas feels like an eternity ago and it is a little bit miserable outside. Normally, I have a great bounty of ingredients to be inspired by and a well-stocked larder at The Northgate to help me come up with new dishes, or remake one from my old recipe book. This month I do not! January has long been famous for chefs as a bit challenging and uninspiring. So, I tried a different way to get inspired.
I went to a shop (the market is great if you are in Bury on a Wednesday or Saturday), looked for some nice meat or fish and just went from there. I love a bit of fish and there was some nice sea bream on ice – sea bream’s nice, sustainable and affordable too. It has a tight texture not dissimilar to smaller sea bass, lovely pearly white flesh, and a thin skin easy to crispen up. It was for lunchtime and I’m trying my best to eat a bit healthier, so I decided on a little fennel salad with some seaweed.
I had good fun cooking this and it filled what normally would have been a cold wet afternoon with a bit of fun.
SEA BREAM MARINADED WITH SEAWEED AND CORIANDER SERVED WITH A FENNEL, LIME AND THAI BASIL SALAD
2 sea bream (ask the fishmonger to scale it for you)
¼ bunch fresh coriander
¼ bunch Thai basil (you can use regular basil if you like)
3 seaweed thins (these are great, you will find them with the snacks. Super savoury and very tasty)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 small orange segmented
1 bulb fennel, finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
With a heavy knife remove the head from the fish and the innards. Then using a sharp pair of scissors remove the fins. Do be careful, these can be sharp!
Now using a sharp knife, we want to remove the bones and butterfly it. Working from the belly side, carefully release the fillets from the bone stopping at the back. Repeat on both sides. Now the fish should open nicely. Remove the pin bones using some smaller pliers or tweezers.
Brush the flesh side with the sesame oil, then sprinkle with salt. Arrange the seaweed and coriander over the top. Place the fish in the fridge for 20 minutes to marinade while you prepare your salad.
Mix your finely-sliced fennel with the orange segments, olive oil, a good pinch of salt and the zest and juice of one lime.
Preferably using a heavy non-stick pan we are going to cook the fish. Using the tiniest amount of oil, coat the pan and bring to a medium heat. Place the fish in skin side down and cook for around 4 minutes uncovered – you will notice the sides of the fish starting to caramelize. I like to weigh fish down a little while cooking to put a bit of pressure on the skin. . . I use a pot.
When the flesh is just cooked remove the fish from the pan on to a hot plate and arrange the fennel salad on top.
I had great fun cooking this quick and healthy little lunch and I hope you do too.
Greig Young is head chef at The Northgate, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 339604