Sea bass with lemon, vermouth and spinach

I love this dish because it is so simple. The juices in the parcels from the vermouth, lemon and basil mixed with the butter is so delicious with the sea bass. Spinach is just right with this dish but you could also add a few lentils.

Serves 2

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 sea bass fillets, about 180g each
2 slices unwaxed lemon
4 basil leaves
100ml dry white vermouth
200g fresh spinach
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C. Fold over two sheets of foil into large squares and butter the shiny sides.
  • Place a fish fillet, skin side up, on each buttered square of foil. Top each fillet with a slice of lemon, 2 basil leaves and 25g butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Fold the sides of the foil up around the fish and pour half of the vermouth into each pocket. Leave to settle for a few seconds, then crimp the foil edges together to seal.
  • Set the foil parcels on a baking tray and bake for 10–12minutes. Check to see if the fish is cooked by carefully opening the parcel and piercing the fish with a sharp roasting fork: if it goes in with no resistance the fish is ready.
  • While the fish is in the oven, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add some salt, then place the spinach in the pan and cook for 1 minute. Drain in a colander and squeeze or press out the excess water (do not refresh the spinach as this will dilute the taste). Season the spinach if required and add a dash of olive oil. Keep hot.
  • Once the fish is cooked, strain the juices from theparcels into a saucepan (set the fish aside in the foil to keep hot). Bring to the boil and reduce by half, then add the remaining butter.
  • Serve the sea bass topped with the butter sauce and with the spinach alongside.

Peperonata with eggs and ham

I make this a lot because my daughter loves peperonata –when she was little she would always call it ‘red stuff’ and that name has stuck in our family. Make sure you cut the peppers finely and cook them slowly. The longer you cook peperonata, the better it tastes.

Serves 2 for brunch or supper

Ingredients:

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 slices smoked ham, roughly torn
4 organic eggs
crusty sourdough bread, to serve

For the peperonata:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp capers in vinegar, drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • First make the peperonata. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 3–4 minutes until translucent, then stir in the peppers, chilli and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes until the vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Tip in the tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the capers.
  • While the peperonata is simmering, prepare the ham and eggs. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the ham and fry for 2–3 minutes until lightly browned in places. Turn the heat down to medium-low and crack the eggs on top of the ham. Cook for a further 3–4 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
  • Spoon the eggs and ham on top of the pepperonata.Add a grinding of pepper and serve straight from the pan with some toasted sourdough bread.