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Fried bream fillets with pea purée

Fillets from bream that you've just caught, served with a purée of peas that you've just picked ... it must be July.


Bring a pan of water to the boil and throw in the mint stalks. Add a pinch of salt and the peas and boil for 4-5 minutes, until the peas are tender (overgrown 'cannonball' peas may take a little longer). Drain and reserve the cooking water, but discard the mint stalks. Put the peas in a blender and set aside.

Set a small pan over a medium-high heat, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the finely chopped garlic. Sizzle gently until the garlic just begins to colour, then quickly pour it into the blender with the peas. Add 50g of the butter, a pinch of salt and pepper and the chopped mint leaves. Add 2 tablespoons of the pea cooking water and blend the whole lot to a purée, adding a little more liquid if necessary, to give a consistency that is similar to coarse hummus. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Put a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining butter. Throw in the bay leaves and the bruised garlic clove to flavour the fat. Season the fish fillets all over and, when the fat is hot, lay them skin side down in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the flesh has turned opaque nearly all the way through, then flip them over and cook for a final 30 seconds.

Arrange the fish fillets skin side up on warmed plates, with a generous dollop of pea purée alongside. Serve with lemon wedges, plus a tomato salad.

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  • Leaves from 1 large bunch of mint, chopped (keep the stalks)
  • 400g freshly podded peas (or use frozen peas)
  • Olive oil
  • 1½ garlic cloves - ½ finely chopped, the other clove skin left on and roughly bruised with a knife
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 black bream, weighing about 450g each, descaled, filleted and pin-boned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Fish