July 27th, 2010

Orford-Landed Seabass with Crispy Potatoes, Bacon and Sea Purslane

Orford is a fantastic place, getting to it is slightly tricky as it requires manoeuvring down a  narrow country lane but the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” is fantastic. A true gem. The village has a lot of character with wonderful’ olde worlde’ seaside village charm. It’s home to some fantastic and well known businesses which makes the visit even more special.

One place I cannot resist visiting is Brinkley’s Shed on the quay and run by local fishermen. It’s here that I found this marvelous local caught seabass and when I faced  the sea, I discovered the wonderful sea purslane growing nearby. I like to visit Brinkley’s as each visit has it’s own mystery finds. They sell what’s in season and fish caught on that particular day. It’s wonderful that there are businesses that focus mainly on the seasons.

Other places I love visiting  in Orford are two smokehouses. one attached to Pinneys restaurant and the other is Richardson’s. They both sell the most amazing smoked products however each specialises in their own field. Pinneys also have  a famous oysterage and  sell the most wonderful smoked prawns. Richardson’s treacle cider smoked ham hock is simply mouthwatering and makes my delicious warm treacle cider smoked ham hock and spring barley salad.

For me seabass still remains a special treat but it very much depends on the season. Seabass is versatile and can be  paired easily with a large range of flavours and ingredients. It is also delicious baked whole en-papilotte or tastes   exceptional when pan-fried in this Orford-Landed Sea Bass with Warm Smoked Bacon, Broad Bean and Sea Purslane Salad. The seabass is one of the many species which have suffered from intensive fishing and high demands however the extensive conservation project that has taken place over the past years has meant that we can now enjoy the return of the local caught seabass from our British shores. It’s a true delight and fantastic feeling walking along the beaches and harbours of the Suffolk coast, typically at places such as Southwold, Orford and Aldeburgh and find freshly landed seabass, skate and cod, all of which have benefited from the intensive conservation projects.

I guess you are wondering what sea purslane is, well I only discovered it last year myself when I went on a Food Safari Seafood in a Day event. Sea purslane is a fantastic wild coastal foraging find with its matt green colour and slightly swollen leaves. The taste is interesting and is almost a reminder of salt and vinegar crisps. When the leaves are freshly picked early in the morning they are still crispy with a lovely salty taste of the sea. Sea purslane is mainly found on salt marches, which are flooded at high tide. It is particularly delicious used as an ingredient with seafood dishes served raw or cooked as per this recipe.

Warm Smoked Bacon, Broad Bean and Sea Purslane Salad

  • 8 new potatoes, washed
  • 2 rashers of smoked back bacon
  • 2 breakfast radishes, washed
  • 20 leaves of sea purslane, washed
  • 125g broad beans, shelled and outer skins removed
  • 10ml extra virgin live oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Cook the new potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, refresh and drain. Peel the potatoes and break them into bite size irregular chunks.

Wash the radishes, remove the leaves and slice the radishes finely using a mandoline.

Blanch and refresh the broad beans and remove the outer skins and finely shred the sea purslane.

Shred the smoked back bacon.

Broad Bean and Sea Purslane Tempura

  • 50g broad beans, shelled and outer skins removed
  • 20 leaves of sea purslane, washed
  • 20g cornflour
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 125ml sparkling water
  • 1 free range egg yolk
  • 2 free range egg whites
  • Sea Salt
  • Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Mix the flour, corn flour, salt, egg yolk and sparkling water into a smooth paste. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and stop just before the soft peak stage. Fold the egg whites into the beignet batter and leave to settle for five minutes.

Prepare the broad beans by removing the outer skin, rinse and drain the popped broad beans. Rinse the sea purslane and drain on kitchen paper.

Heat the oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, dip the broad beans and sea purslane in the batter and fry them until golden brown all over. Drain the tempura broad beans and sea purslane on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve.

Seaweed Vinaigrette

  • 40g baby spinach
  • 2 Nori sheets
  • 10ml mirin
  • 10ml warm water
  • 60ml peanut oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Weigh all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, apart from the oil, and put into a blender. Blend until smooth and then slowly incorporate the oil to form an emulsion. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

To Serve

  • 4 x 150g sea bass fillets, scaled and pin bones removed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Warm Smoked Bacon, Broad Bean and Sea Purslane Salad
  • Broad Bean and Sea purslane tempura
  • Seaweed Vinagrette

Sauté the salad: When your ready to serve, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sauté the potatoes and shredded bacon until golden brown, add the sea pusrlane and broad beans, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Pan-fry the sea bass: heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, season the fish with salt only and sauté the sea bass skin side down first for about 2 minutes until golden brown, but it does depend on the thickness of the fillet. Once golden turn the fish over for one minute on the flesh side, drain and gently place the sea bass on top of the warm salad. Garnish the sea bass with the broad bean tempura and the seaweed vinaigrette.

Serves 4

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4 Comments to “Orford-Landed Seabass with Crispy Potatoes, Bacon and Sea Purslane”

  1. Dave Minter. says:

    Orford is a wonderful little location. Brinkley’s do some really delicious shellfish. If you’re worn out after all the hard work then go and try ‘Sweet Tease’. There you’ll find some the the nicest cakes and savouries around.

  2. Barry says:

    Just don’t know where you find the extra hours in the day to do all the stuff you do…whats the next step up from a workaholic??? cos that must be you

  3. Miss Lemon says:

    Yeah, I was also wondering about that!
    Do not worry, we will be waiting for you here :-)
    B.t.w. your Seabass looks great!

  4. Marcia says:

    How on earth do you still have time to do this with all going on in the new venture? If I were wearing a cap, I would doff it to you, madame!

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