Cured sea bream and fennel salad
- March 2014
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 40 min, curing time 2½ hours
This plate of cured sea bream and fennel salad by Ben Tish is a great starter for a three-course menu.
Fennel goes excellently with seafood. Try our fennel and orange salad with griddled prawns for another example.
- 12.5g (2.2g saturated)
- 4g (4g sugars)
- 100g sea salt
- 50g caster sugar
- 1½ tbsp fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan and crushed in a pestle and mortar
- 6 very fresh, small (roughly 100g each) sea bream fillets, pin-boned and skin scored
- 75g spicy chorizo sausage, skinned and chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, very finely sliced (with a mandoline if possible)
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, toasted briefly in a dry pan
- Juice ½ lemon
- 20ml moscatel vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- Small handful fennel fronds or fresh dill leaves
- Mix the salt, sugar and crushed fennel seeds in a small bowl. Put the bream fillets in a lidded plastic box, then pour over the salt mixture, making sure the fillets are covered and surrounded. Chill for 1½ hours, then rinse the fish under cold running water for a few minutes. Pat dry with kitchen paper, put the fish back in the container, then return to the fridge for an hour or so to finish curing (see tips).
- Meanwhile, cook the chorizo in a pan over a low heat for 10 minutes to release its paprika-infused oil and crisp up. If the chorizo isn’t releasing much oil, add a splash of olive oil. Once the chorizo is crispy, strain off the oil and reserve. Drain the chorizo on kitchen paper.
- Toss the sliced fennel in a mixing bowl with the mustard seeds, lemon juice, vinegar and some seasoning.
- Remove the bream from the fridge. Use a very sharp knife to slice the flesh into thin strips at an angle.
- Divide the bream among serving plates and season. Spoon over some of the dressing from the fennel salad and rub onto the fish to glaze.
- Toss the fennel fronds or dill through the salad, then pile on top of the bream. Spoon over some reserved chorizo oil, then scatter with the chorizo pieces to serve.
The colder and better cured the fish, the easier it is to slice thinly.
Prepare the fillets the day before. Cure as in step 1, rinse and chill overnight.
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