This is a recipe with all the colours of Christmas but none of the calories of the typical festive foods! It's inspired by the beautiful roasted peppers at The Grocers in Old Amersham which I was allowed to try straight out of the oven and I decided I had to recreate! In this recipe I've made a big batch of the peppers as they are really handy to have in the fridge to add to sandwiches or a pasta if you manage not to eat them all! You can remake the salsa verde and the fish cooks so quickly it's a really easy dish to create in a short space of time. This dish is perfect for a dinner party or a family dinner, it's light and flavoursome, perfect for a meal leading up to the big day.
Ingredients for the peppers
4 red peppers, chopped into bite sized pieces
5 sprigs of thyme
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp muscavado sugar
2/3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Ingredients for the salsa verde
20g flat parsley, leaves only
20g mix of basil and mint, leaves only
4 anchovies, rinsed if packed in salt
2/3 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Ingredients for the fish
4 sea bass fillets, as fresh as you can get them
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Place all the ingredients for the peppers in a baking tray with a generous helping of olive oil, give it a good stir and put in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the peppers are soft and beginning to blacken.
Meanwhile, start the salsa verde by mashing the anchovies in a pestle and mortar. Next add the capers and then the herbs gradually until you have a smooth paste. To save your arms, or if you don't have much time, you could start or finish in a food processor but for the best results keep to the pestle and mortar for at least some of the time. Now stir in the vinegar and then add oil gradually until you have your desired consistency. Taste and add seasoning if necessary. Put to one side.
When the peppers are almost ready (about 5 minutes to go), season the sea bass fillets and heat a large frying pan with a knob of butter. Once the pan is very hot, place the fillets in skin side down (you may need to do this in batches depending on your pan) and press the fillets down to stop them from curling.
Once the fillets are cooked two thirds of the way up and the skin is crispy and browned, flip over and fry until cooked. The timings for the fish will depend on the thickness of the fillets so just make sure you give it your full attention, it will cook quickly.
Once the fish is cooked put to once side to rest for a couple of minutes. Assemble a generous helping of peppers on each plate, place the sea bass on top and then a dollop of salsa verde. Serve immediately and enjoy!