Winter’s Day Fish Lunch
One of the things I’m most grateful for is my friends. Some of them I’ve been friends with since forever, others I’ve known for a long time and we’ve developed a growing friendship over the years. I value all of these strong connections I have with the different wonderful people in my life and when I have the chance to share a meal with them and enjoy their company, even if it’s only for a couple of hours, it makes me immensely happy.
We invited two of our good friends and their baby daughter over for lunch on a wintery day and decided together on fish. We took a nice walk to the market, where we got our fish and vegetables and afterwards made our way back home to prepare this meal. In the kitchen, we each set up on doing something, just to get everything done quicker; we chopped away, we measured, we poured, we sipped on wine, we talked and laughed and soon enough, food was ready to be put on the table.
The recipe below is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Moroccan Bream featured in the “15-Minute Meals” series. We used 5 fish because we were three adults and two small children. Make sure to adapt the quantities according to your needs.
For the fish
5 whole bream, heads and tails removed, scaled and gutted
Sea salt and black pepper
2-3Tblsp olive oil
6 spring onions
A few sprigs of thyme
Saffron threads covered with 100ml/1/2 cup boiling water and left to infuse for a couple of minutes
Score the the fish in a crisscross fashion on both sides, down to the bone. Season all over with rock salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan and add the fish, cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes each side for whole fish. Add finely sliced spring onions, thyme sprigs, harissa to taste and saffron threads and their soaking water. Scrunch up and wet a sheet of greaseproof paper and tuck it around the fish. Cook on low heat until the liquid is half evaporated from the frying pan.For the couscous
2 cups couscous
4 cups boiling water
2 tsp butter
Salt to taste
Add couscous to the boiling water in a small saucepan. Add salt, cover and stand for about 3 minutes or until theliquid is absorbed. Stir in the butter, fluffing up the couscous as you stir.
1/2 cup sesame seeds
A handful of pistachios
A bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Pile some couscous onto each plate, lay the fish on top and spoon over some of the pan juices. Scatter over some sesame seeds and pistachios, then garnish with parsley.