William Drabble’s Griddled Sea Bass With Stuffed Courgettes, Tomatoes, Olives & Basil

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William Drabble shares his sunny Mediterranean sea bass recipe, inspired by his travels in the region


Ingredients
For the sea bass:
• 4 sea bass fillets, skin scored
• 1 lemon
• olive oil
• salt
• pepper

For the aubergine and courgette farce:
• 2 round courgettes, cut in half lengthways with centre scooped out
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 1/2 tsp herb de Provence
• 1 courgette, small, cut into 2mm dice
• 1/2 aubergine, small, cut into 2mm dice
• 1 flat mushroom, medium, cut into 2mm dice
• 2 spinach leaves, washed and cut into very thin strips
• 2 tomatoes, diced
• 1 handful of breadcrumbs, small
• olive oil
• salt

For the basil oil:
• 20g of basil, leaves picked
• 200ml of olive oil

For the tomato sauce:
• 10 tomatoes, ripe, peeled and chopped
• 1 shallot, thinly sliced
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• basil
• cayenne pepper
• 100ml of olive oil
• salt

For the slow-roasted heirloom tomatoes:
• heirloom tomato
• basil, 2 sprigs
• icing sugar
• olive oil
• salt

For the black olive croute:
• 1 baguette, small
• black olives, pitted and marinated (not in brine)

For the artichokes:
• 4 baby artichokes, prepared, cooked and halved
• olive oil

Method
1 First make the basil oil. Place the picked basil in a liquidiser with the olive oil and blitz into a purée with a pinch of salt. Set aside in the fridge until required.
2 Preheat the oven to 80°C, or the lowest setting on a gas mark oven.
3 Cook slowly until the tomato sauce starts to thicken – you will need to stir it quite often to prevent it from burning.
4 Once it has become thick, add the basil and leave it to infuse for 10 minutes before passing through a sieve to remove the seeds. Set aside in a warm place.
5 For the olive en croute, add the olives to a blender and blitz to make a paste – you may need to add a little olive oil to help the process black olives, pitted and marinated (not in brine).
6 Blanch the heirloom tomatoes briefly in water and remove the skins, then cut into wedges and place onto a non-stick baking tray.
7 Season with salt, sprinkle over a little icing sugar and drizzle with some olive oil.
8 Place a couple of sprigs of basil over the tomatoes and cook in the low oven for approximately 1-1 1/2 hours. Open the door at regular intervals to let any moisture out of the oven.
9 For the tomato sauce, warm the olive oil in a wide, shallow, non-stick pan and add the shallot and garlic. Cook slowly until soft and sweet but not coloured. Add the chopped tomatoes and season with a little salt and cayenne pepper.
10 Slice the baguette very thinly to create a croute, then toast it slowly until nice and crispy. Set aside until ready to serve.
11 For the aubergine and courgette farce (for stuffing the round courgettes), place some olive oil into a small pan and add the shallot, garlic, herbs de Provence and a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and sweet but not coloured.
12 Add the diced courgette and aubergine and cook until soft, then add the chopped mushroom and cook until the moisture has evaporated. Add the spinach and cook until dry again.
13 Add the diced tomato cook for 1 minute, then add some breadcrumbs just to stiffen the mix up. Set aside.
14 Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
15 Blanch the round courgettes in boiling salted water until tender, but still firm and holding their shape. Refresh in iced water and drain. Stuff with some of the farce and sprinkle with a few more breadcrumbs.
16 Place into oven for 10-15 minutes, then remove and keep warm.
17 Preheat the oven 150°C/gas mark 2.
18 Arrange the courgettes neatly onto plates, then spread on a little of the tomato sauce. Place the slow-cooked tomatoes and roasted artichokes on top of the sauce.
19  To prepare the fish, add some olive oil to a hot pan and season the fish. Place in the pan skin-side down and fry for thirty seconds, then place the fish in the oven for 5-6 minutes to cook through.
20  Meanwhile, quickly sauté the baby artichokes in a small pan with a dash of oil.
21 Remove the sea bass from the oven and season with some salt and lemon. Place the fish on top of the vegetables and trickle some basil oil around the vegetables.
22 Spread some black olive paste onto the croute and arrange on top of the fish. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of William Drabble, originally published on GreatBritishChefs.com

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