Celery, tomato and echalion sauce - a simple way of serving fish
My friend cookery writer Andrea Leeman is one of the best home cooks I know with a knack of making even the simplest food taste utterly delicious.
Her latest book A Veg for All Seasons, inspired by her (and my) local Bristol greengrocer Reg the Veg and published by Bristol photographer and designer Stephen Morris is a great example of the kind of small-scale publishing project that's burgeoning nowadays.
As the title suggests it includes a selection of recipes for using seasonal vegetables including this healthy sauce for serving with roast or poached white fish.
Andrea writes: echalions are the long torpedo-shaped or 'banana' shallots. An excellent sauce in which to cook fresh white fish such as chunks of flaky cod, sea bream fillets or whole sea bass. You could pep it up with half a chopped green chilli.
4 celery sticks
4 ripe tomatoes
2 echalions (banana shallots)
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
200ml dry white wine such as muscadet
a small to medium-sized seabass or 4 x 150g white fish fillets
sea salt and black pepper
String and chop the celery sticks in half lengthways, then into small half-moons. Make 3-4 slashes in the tomatoes, put into a bowl and pour over boiling water; after a couple of minutes, run under the cold tap, skin and remove the hard core at the top before chopping into pieces. Peel and chop the echalions and chop the parsley.
Spoon the olive oil into a pan and heat; add the celery, tomatoes and echalions, fry gently until the vegetables soften. Pour in the wine and cook for another 3 minutes before adding the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce into a suitable dish for roasting or steaming the fish – if steaming the pan will need a lid. Lay the fish on the sauce and spoon a little over the top. Oven time is about 20 minutes in a medium oven, poaching on the stove takes approximately 5-6 minutes on a low heat, but don’t forget to cover the fish so the steam can do its work.
What to drink: As Andrea has mentioned Muscadet it would make sense to drink it with the dish. Picpoul de Pinet or a dry Italian white such as Pinot Grigio would also work well or even a dry Provençal rosé.
You can buy A Veg for all Seasons from Reg the Veg or order it online from Waterstones for £10.
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