Discovering Culture through food

Parsley and Sea-bass Pasta Coated in a Warm Broccoli Parmesan Pesto and Toasted Crumbs

Sea bass being in season this time of year makes a divine fish turn heavenly, accompanied with a fresh and crunchy pesto transforms it into a perfect spring meal for 3 (or a very hungry 2). Recipe uses twice as much fish as shown in the picture, apologies as I fooled myself into thinking I had more at the time of making it :).

Preparation time: 35 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Serves: 2-3
  • 2 whole fresh sea-bass
  • 1 small broccoli
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated  Cheddar cheese
  • Approx. 50g butter
  • 2-3 tablespoon Finley chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 250 g giant Paccheri

Tips and Tricks: When buying the fish check the eyes to see if they are still glossy, the cloudier they are, the older the fish is. When buying the broccoli look for the one with the darkest shade of green, this will give you the richest flavour.

If you really can’t get hold of whole sea-bass then store bought fillets will do the job, but probably won’t be as fresh as you would get from the fishmonger. As for the giant Paccheri I got mine from the international section of M&S (Marks and Spencers if you’re lucky enough to live in the UK). If not any other type of hollow pasta will be fine.

  1. Remove guts from fish along with head if not already done so by fishmonger.
  2. Fillet both fish, removing any bones that may remain.
  3. Chop the fillets in half and cover in cling film for later use (Do not put into fridge).
  4. Chop the broccoli into small florets (Approx. size of a your thumb).
  5. Chop garlic roughly, place into pestle and mortar and make garlic paste (could use garlic press).
  6. Place breadcrumbs on oven tray, sprinkle with parsley.
  7. Boil water in large pan seasoning with salt and olive oil. Add pasta to the water.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (Gas mark 4).
  9. When pasta is 10 minutes from being cooked, Place  Broccoli into some boiling water  and cook for Approx. 7 minutes (Until pasta is 3 minutes from being done).
  10. When pasta is 6 minutes from cooking place breadcrumbs in oven, Along with placing fish in steamer skin side down, drizzling 1tsp of olive oil over each fillet.
  11. Once broccoli is cooked, remove,  strain  and place into a pan on low heat.
  12. Mash the broccoli with a potato masher or a fork.
  13. Add the garlic paste, stirring well to make sure garlic paste has been incorporated well with the broccoli.
  14. Once the pasta has cooked, add to the broccoli along with a little bit of pasta water.
  15. Turn off heat, add the cheese and stir well.
  16. To make butter parsley sauce, melt butter in separate pan, adding chopped parsley once butter has melted.
  17. Once the fish is cooked , place on top of pasta removing any skin.
  18. Spoon over the butter and parsley sauce.
  19. Remove breadcrumbs from oven once browned (should be done by this point)  and sprinkle over the fish and pasta.
  20. Finishing off with cracked black pepper, sprinkle of salt and more cheese .

Tips and Tricks: When making the ginger and garlic paste, add a pinch of coarse salt to the pestle to quicken the grinding process. The key to this dish is good ingredients and good timing. I find working back from the pasta cooking time (component that takes the longest) is the easiest way to ensure this. Make sure to keep an eye on your breadcrumbs in the process of making everything else, taking them out if they are done.

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