Crispy Sea Bass & Sweet Chicken Surprise
On the menu this time: Thai-style crispy sea bass, baked garlicky mushrooms, a sweet chicken surprise, and pineapple carpaccio.
Thai-style crispy sea bass
Trim and halve the spring onions, finely shred lengthways and place in a bowl of ice-cold water to crisp up. Pick in the coriander leaves, reserving the stalks.
Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. With a sharp knife, score the sea bass skin at 2cm intervals, then rub all over with the curry paste, inside and out, getting into all the cracks and crannies. Pack the coriander stalks into the cavities, season with sea salt and black pepper, then place in the hot pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until dark golden and cooked through (depending on the thickness of your fish).
Drain and shake off the spring onions and coriander and pile on to your plates. Sit the sea bass on top, spooning over any spicy oil from the pan. Finely grate over the lime zest, and serve with lime halves, for squeezing over.
Baked garlicky mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Peel and very finely slice the garlic. Pick the sage leaves. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Peel the mushrooms, reserving the peel. Place it all (peel included) in a 25cm x 30cm roasting tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and toss together. Pick out 12 perfect garlic slices and sage leaves for later, and sit the mushrooms stalk side up on the top. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven, crumble the cheese into the mushroom cups and sprinkle over the reserved garlic and sage. Return to the oven for 15 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and everything’s golden, then dish up.
Pick the mint leaves into a pestle and mortar, reserving a small handful of leaves to one side. Pound the rest into a paste, then muddle in 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to make a mint oil. Top and tail the pineapple, then slice off the skin. Quarter lengthways, remove the core, then finely slice lengthways. Arrange on a large platter or divide between your plates. Take the time to halve the blueberries, then sprinkle over the top.
Ripple some mint oil through the yoghurt (saving the rest for another recipe), then spoon over the fruit. Finely grate over the lime zest from a height and squeeze over the juice. Finely slice and sprinkle over the reserved mint leaves, then drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil (yes, you heard it – delicious).
Sweet chicken surprise
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put a non-stick ovenproof frying pan on a high heat. Rub the chicken all over with ½ a tablespoon of olive oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and place skin side down in the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes until golden, then lightly squash the unpeeled garlic cloves with the heel of your hand and add to the pan. Pick in the grapes.
Turn the chicken skin side up, pour in the vermouth and transfer to the oven to roast for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is golden and tender, and the sauce is sticky and reduced. Add a splash of water to the pan and give it a gentle shimmy to pick up all the sticky bits. Pick over the tarragon, and dish up.
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