Black bream is caught in Swanage Bay for the next few months. Catch a fillet while you can.
There are some 200 species of bream, some of which are vegetarian!
Try these dishes this spring.
Baked bream with roast tomatoes, green beans and tapenade dressing
A dish that is more than the sum of its parts. All you need to offer on the side is a few olive-oil-roasted potatoes.
4 bream, each 300g (10½oz), gutted, trimmed and scaled
400g (14oz) cherry tomatoes on the vine
8 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
200g (7oz) green beans, topped but not tailed
For the dressing
15g (½oz) black olives, stones removed
3 tsp capers, rinsed
2 anchovy fillets
1 small clove garlic, very finely chopped
4 tbsp fruity extra-virgin olive oil (a French or a Spanish one is better than a grassy Tuscan), plus extra for drizzling
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
Put the bream into a roasting-tin and place the tomatoes around them. Brush the fish inside and out with half the olive oil and half the lemon juice and season. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil on to the tomatoes and season. Bake in an oven preheated to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 for 20 minutes.
While the fish is cooking make the dressing. Chop the olives quite finely, then roughly chop the capers and anchovies (you should be able to see little chunks of both in your dressing). Mix these and the rest of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and add some pepper. Taste and see whether you want to make any adjustments; it may need a little more oil (the acidity of wine vinegar varies).
About four minutes before the fish is ready, boil or steam the beans until they are tender but al dente. Season, squeeze the rest of the lemon over them and drizzle with some extra-virgin oil. Put the bream on a platter with the tomatoes and beans around them and spoon some of the dressing over the top. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side. Little olive-oil-roasted potatoes or a white rice pilaf would be good with this (or, if you are feeling lazy, country bread and a green salad).
Herby couscous with butternut squash tagine and pan-fried black bream
By James Martin
For the butternut squash tagine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
- 200g/7oz canned chopped tomatoes
- 200ml/7fl oz chicken stock
- 3 preserved lemons, rind only, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 black bream fillets, skin left on
For the herby couscous
- 400g/14oz couscous
- 600ml/1 pint 2fl oz hot chicken stock
- 2 lemons, zest only
- 100g/3½oz toasted flaked almonds
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- small handful coriander cress