2 Sea bream, scaled and gutted (Or Seabass)
1 knob of fresh ginger
100 ml olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
FOR THE WAKAME SALSA
10g dried wake seaweed
1 small green courgette
2 fresh jalapeño chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp kimchi or Sriracha chili sauce
FOR THE SUMMER PICKLES
1tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
300-400ml sushi vinegar
1 large red chilli
100g caster sugar
4 springs of lemon thyme
1 yellow courgette
1 Sicilian or unwaxed lemon
You will need: large sterilized jar for the pickles.
Sea bream is a relatively inexpensive fish, but hugely overlooked, which is a shame as it lends itself very well to Asian-style dishes, either fried or grilled.
The flesh is not dissimilar to bass, but has a deeper flavour and firmer texture, so is good with complex flavours. Here, it is served with spring pickles of yellow courgette and Sicilian lemon, and a jalapeño wake salsa. The pickles will benefit from at least day three days’ pickling, and will keep for up to a month in a sterilized jar kept in a cool place.
- First make the pickles. Toast the coriander and mustard seeds in a saucepan for a few minutes until the aromas are released.
- Add the vinegar, peppercorns, chilli, sugar and lemon thyme and stir for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Wash the yellow courgette, cut into quarters lengthways and remove the seeds.
- Cut each quarter into 1cm pieces and place in the jar.
- Peel the lemon with a peeler and remove as much of the pith as possible without bruising the flesh.
- Cut the lemon into very thin slices. Slide these along the sides of the pickling jar.
- When the pickling liquid is cooled, pour into the jar, seal the lid and leave for at least 3 days in a dry, cool place.
- On the day of cooking, scale the sea bream, then slit open the fish and remove the stomach sac and other innards.
- Rinse the fish under the cold tap and check all scales are removed; these tend to be very large on this fish.
- Dry the fish in kitchen (paper) towel and score each with three slits about 5mm deep, allowing the marinade to penetrate the flesh.
- Rub the ginger clean under a cold tap and dry on kitchen (paper) towel.
- Slice into thin slices, place in shallow tray and pour in the oil and soy sauce.
- Place the sea bream in to a marinate. place in the fridge for 15 minutes, then turn the fish and marinate for a further 15 minutes.
- Start the robata grill. Meanwhile, make the wake salsa.
- Place the wake in a large container of ice-cold water.
- Wash the courgette and cut into tiny cubes.
- Repeat with cucumber, removing the seeds as well.
- Place the courgette, cucumber, chillies and garlic in a bowl with the olive oil and chilli sauce, and season with salt. When the wake is fully bloomed, drain, chop finely and add to the salsa.
- Grill the sea bream on an oiled wire rack over the robata for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning four times.
- Use a fish slice or spatula to carefully lift off the wire rack when turning, so as not to tear the skin.
- Place the fish on a plate with the salsa alongside and serve with a helping of seasonal summer pickles on the side.