Salmon with Basil and Peas 'Bonne Femme'


Pham is totally obsessed with Gordon Ramsay, so a few Christmases back I bought him Gordon Ramsay's book 'Sunday Lunches'. Its an excellent book full of mouth-watering and relatively easy recipes with ingredients that you can source locally. Some of the techniques that are shown in the book will make you feel like a really clever chef, but are really not that difficult. We had been meaning to try out some recipes for quite some time now, but as you know life gets busy and you push aside your little hobbies. On Monday night we decided that we shouldn't delay it any longer and we chose to do the Black Bream with Basil and Peas 'Bonne Femme'. Anything in French just sounds super gourmet!

The book says 'Black Bream has a delicate, slightly sweet flavour that really comes through when the fish is gently poached or steamed. French-style peas with little snippets of bacon and onion are the perfect base for the fish.' Of course, when we arrived at the supermarket we couldn't find any bream so we used salmon instead because we're both salmon enthusiasts. We also substituted pearl onions for shallots and the dish still came out extremely tasty.

This recipe serves 6.
You will need -
- 6 Black Bream fillets, skin on, about 175g each
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- small handful of basil leaves
- olive oil, to drizzle
Peas 'Bonne Femme'
- olive oil, for cooking
- 250g uncooked bacon lardons
- 150g pearl onions, peeled
- few thyme sprigs, leaves only
- 500g fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)


1. Check the fish for small bones removing any you find with tweezers. Score the skin at 1cm intervals. Season with salt and pepped and place a few basil leaves on the flesh side. Place each bream fillet on a large piece of cling film and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up to enclose the fillets in the cling film, twisting the ends tightly to seal.
2. For the peas, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon lardons for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the onion and thyme to the pan and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the onions are tender.
3. In the meantime, bring a large pan of water to the boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the wrapped bream fillets and gently poach for about 10 minutes until the fish is opaque and cooked through. If the centre is not cooked through poach for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the peas and bacon to the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until the peas are tender. Season well.
5. Divide the peas 'Bonne Femme' among six warm plates. Unwrap the bream fillets and place on top of the vegetables, skin side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.


mmm oily oniony goodness
Beautiful colours, you really do eat with your eyes first
Just a little bit fancy...



Tips - We decided to use two layers of cling wrap and knotted the ends to make sure no water got in. In hindsight, using a zip lock bag would've been a lot easier and stress free. Because we had some air bubbles trapped in the cling wrap, the fish kept floating to the top of the water. To keep it submerged, we placed a metal colander which was the same size of the pan inside and weighed it down with a mug. Because we used salmon fillets which are thicker than bream fillets, we cooked the fish for about 14-15 minutes and they turned out perfect.


I loved learning how to poach the fish with the technique. The fish was so tender and the flavours were light and fresh. I'll be whipping this up when I'm wanting to impress someone.



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