Top chefs all over the world have discovered the amazing way of cooking fish on a plancha. Cooking food on a plancha sears the meat or fish better than any other cooking surface. It creates a browned, slightly crispy exterior while sealing in the juices. At the same time, it leaves the interior of the meat or fish moist, tender, and juicy.
4 x 175g red bass fillets, or substitute tilapia if need be.
40g (2 ½ tablespoons) butter
Salt and pepper
For the pea puree
240 (1 2/3 cups) frozen peas though you can use fresh peas that have been cooked. I prefer using fresh peas and find that they have better texture than the frozen.
150ml chicken stock
For the vegetables
150g sugar snap. If unavailable, I suggest you use fava beans
300g pea shoots. For flavour if you cannot find them then use spinach or pak choi
A pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar (optional)
A pinch of pepper
A pinch of corn flour
55g (4 tablespoons) butter
50g (1/3) red or yellow pepper, cut into tine dice, about 2mm. If you are a fan of chili like me, then by all means add more according to your taste buds.
For the watercress and ginger broth
15g (1 tablespoon) butter, plus extra to serve
30g (2 tablespoons) shallots, finely chopped
55g fresh ginger, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
A pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar (if you using)
240g (2 cups) watercress, chopped
For the garnish
30g young ginger, cut into rounds
1.Put the peas and chicken stock in a blender or a food processor and process to a smooth and thick puree.
2.Prepare the vegetables and begin by removing the peas from inside the sugar snaps and cook in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and quickly place in a bowl of iced water.
Pick the pea shoots from the stems and toss them in a bowl with the salt, sugar, pepper and corn flour. Place a saucepan over a medium heat, add 30g (2 tablespoons) of the butter and the pea shoots and cook until wilted. Add the sugar snaps peas and pea puree to bind. Finish with 15g (1 tablespoon) of the butter in a separate pan, heat the red pepper in the remaining butter to warm through.
3. For the watercress broth, heat the butter in a large pan, add the shallots, 40g of the ginger and garlic and sweat until softened. Season with the salt and sugar before adding the chopped watercress leaves and sweat until wilted and then add enough water just to cover and bring to a simmer.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ginger. Blend with a hand blender to break up, being careful not to puree it. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth).
4.Score the skin of the fish and brush it with oil and season with salt and sear it skin side down on a plancha or in a hot pan with a little oil. Just before you are ready to turn the fish, put the butter on the plancha or in the pan. Wait until it becomes frothy and starts to go brown, then turn the fish and baste with the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
5.To serve, put the pea shoots and pea puree in the center of a shallow bowl, then place the watercress leaves and rounds of ginger around the edge. Place the seared fish on top of the peas, skin side up. Reheat the broth in a small saucepan, add a knob of butter and whizz with a hand blender. Spoon the broth around the fish and top the fish with the finely diced red pepper.