Fillet of local sea bass with casserole of Poole shellfish, tomato sauce and herb gnocchi
PUBLISHED: 22:33 23 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:04 25 March 2015
Alex Aitken, the award-winning Chef Patron at The Jetty and The Kings Arms in Christchurch, shares one of his favourite recipes with us
This is a firm favourite on our menu and features local sea bass and shellfish in an almost Spanish tomato sauce. For the sauce use a tin of Waitrose chopped tomatoes with thyme and garlic, we spend hours making a fresh version , however for the home cook this or similar is fine.
4 x 150g- 200g fillets of sea bass, scaled but with the skin left on
For the Gnocchi:
250g dry mashed potato
125g plain flour
1 beaten egg
salt and pepper to taste
teaspoon chopped chives or parsley
Mix all the above together, roll into long sausage like cylinders, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Slice the chilled gnocchi mix into 3 to 4cm pieces. Drop into the boiling water, when they rise to the surface they are cooked, drain and hold for finishing the dish.
For the Shellfish:
250g clams or cockles
a chopped shallot
smashed clove of garlic
sprig of parsley
good glass of white wine
a knob of butter
Put the shallot, garlic and butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan and lightly cook, turn up the heat and add the white wine, bring to a fast boil. Add the parsley and shellfish. Cover and cook for around 5 minutes or until all the shells are open. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, strain off the liquid and reserve for the sauce.
For the Sauce:
1 finely chopped shallot
knob of butter
sprig of fresh thyme
a tin of Waitrose chopped tomatoes with thyme and garlic
100g fresh black olives
cooking juices from the shellfish
Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan, add shallot and garlic, add the shellfish cooking juices, reduce, then add the chopped tomato, the cooked shellfish and thyme and keep warm but do not allow to reduce. To finish the dish cook the sea bass. Season the sea bass fillets and sear skin side down in a non-stick pan. Cook the bass until nearly cooked through the skin (about 8 minutes) then to finish turn them over. At this point add the gnocchi and cook to add colour and re-heat.
To serve: Take four warm bowls or plates, spoon the shellfish and sauce onto the plates, top with sea bass and gnocchi and serve with fresh crusty bread and a glass of full-bodied white wine or even a chilled soft red wine.
The Jetty, 95 Mudeford
Christchurch, BH23 3NT
Kings Arms, 18 Castle Street
Christchurch, BH23 1DT