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French Food Friday - Raymond Blanc"s Pan-fried Fillet of Sea Bream with Ratatouille and Tomato Coulis

photo and recipe from here
Apologies that this post is three days late but I am playing catch up as late is better than never...
Entre nous the last time that we had fish, French boyfriend overcooked it and I made my thoughts known. Not one of my best moves and I think that he sulked for at least a week and I wished that I had not said anything at all.
If I had to pick one cookbook, I think it would be Raymond Blanc's Foolproof French cookery as it is one of those cookbooks that I turn to time and time again.
I made this particular dish for FB on Saturday night and he loved it, so much so that we are having at again tonight as I have enough  Ratatouille left over and FB is off to buy us some lovely fresh sea bream or as it is called here, dorade.

Pan-fried Fillet of Sea Bream with Ratatouille and Tomato Coulis
Total time: 30 to 60 minutes
Preheat oven to 200°C. (400°F.)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Average
Raymond's note
All the clean, fresh flavors of Provence can be found in this fragrant dish. The obvious time to eat it is in the summer, when the tomatoes are fat and bursting with juices and sweetness and all the vegetables are local and packed with flavor. The ratatouille can be prepared a day in advance and the tomato coulis a few hours in advance.
Ingredients for 4 servings
- 2 onions, cut into 2 cm (3/4") dice
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 large red peppers, seeded and cut into 2 cm (3/4") dice
- 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 2 cm (3/4") dice
- 1 medium eggplant, halved and cut into 2 cm (3/4") dice
- 2 tbsp. tomato purée
- 4 ripe tomatoes, diced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tomato coulis
- 200 g (7 oz.) ripe cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pinches of sugar if the tomatoes aren't ripe enough
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Sea bream
- 4 fillets of sea bream, skin on (scaled)
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil + extra to finish
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Making the ratatouille
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. On a medium heat, in a large saucepan, soften the onions and thyme in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes, without letting them colour.
  3. Add the garlic, red peppers, courgettes, aubergine, 8 pinches of salt and 4 pinches of pepper and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  4. Stir in the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Cook over a medium heat, with a lid on, for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary, then set aside.
Making the tomato coulis
  1. In a blender, or with a hand-held blender, purée the cherry tomatoes with the extra-virgin olive oil, 2 pinches of salt and a pinch of pepper.
  2. Taste and add the sugar if necessary, then strain and set aside.
Frying the sea bream
  1. Slash each fillet 3 times with a sharp knife (this allows the heat to penetrate more easily). Season with 4 pinches of salt and 2 of pepper.
  2. Over a high heat, in a large, oven-proof frying pan, heat the oil. Sear the fillets on the flesh side for 30-40 seconds in the hot olive oil.
  3. Turn the fillets over and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2-3 minutes longer, depending on thickness. Taste and correct the seasoning, if necessary, then sprinkle the lemon juice over the fillets.
Finishing the dish
  1. Reheat the ratatouille and gently warm the tomato coulis, making sure it does not boil (if it did it would become grainy and lose all its freshness). Arrange the ratatouille in the middle of 4 soup plates and top with the sea bream fillets.
  2. Spoon the tomato coulis around and then drizzle with the best extra-virgin olive oil.
 bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x


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{fabulous shop in St Emilion, photo taken by moi}
Bonjour from a sunny but chilly SW France,

Hope that you had a nice weekend. We spent yesterday afternoon at a furniture auction but I will tell you more about that later in the week.

Last weekend we bought a lot of wine cases as we thought that they would make good storage, as shown in the photo above.

I particularly liked the idea of making a set of drawers with them or perhaps even a serving tray like this.

{photo from here}
We have quite a few boxes and wine box ends so any ideas that you have would be gratefully received...
Mille mercis et bonne semaine a tous.....

Leeann x

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