This excellent, versatile dish can easily be a dinner party main course but also makes a tasty everyday supper for your nearest and dearest.
Gently warm a sauté pan and add a splash of olive oil. Add the bacon lardons and fry until starting to crisp. Supermarkets often sell a cubed pancetta which is a slightly courser cut and is worth chopping to a smaller cubes for this dish.
Next add the baby onions and fry for 3 minutes before adding the garlic. Fry for a further 20 seconds, taking care not to let the garlic colour or burn.
Next add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and cook until the stock is reduced by half. Pour in the double cream and reduce by one third. When reduced, add the lettuce and blanched peas, bring back to the boil and season. Unless you can get super fresh peas then frozen peas are a fantastic alternative. The trick with this stewy sauce is to keep a lovely green colour from the lettuce and peas, which means not overcooking. So first, get the texture you want by reducing the stock and cream and then add the greens.
Finish off by mixing in the parsley and lemon. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.
To cook the fish, place a large frying pan on the heat to get hot and add a splash of olive oil. Allow the oil to heat through. Season the fish and place the fillets of bream into the pan skin side down. Fry the fish until the skin is well coloured and very crispy, which should take about 2-4 minutes. Do not move the fish around at all, just leave it to crisp up the skin.
Carefully turn the fillets over, add the butter and fry for 1 minute before flipping it back on to the skin side for 1 more minute, all the time basting the fish with the butter. Basting the fish with butter really adds to the flavour and helps the fish retain a good level of moisture. Wait until the butter is foaming but don↑t let it go brown or it will taste bitter. Squeeze over some lemon juice and remove from the heat.
Divide the warm pea mixture between 2 serving bowls and place a sea bream fillet on top of each. Finish with a drizzle of good olive oil and serve.
Your local fishmonger is the best person to ask for advice (aside from Nick, John & Tristan of course!)
2 large fillets of sea bream, skin on (scaled and pin boned)
50g lardons of dry cured pancetta
8 baby onions, blanched and peeled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 small gem lettuce, chopped roughly
75g fresh peas, blanched and chilled (or frozen peas)
100ml white chicken stock
40ml double cream
small handful of fresh flat leafed parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon juice