A recipe from a sumptuous cookbook by Rachael McKenna and Jean-André Charial which celebrates the unique gastronomic offerings and relaxed rituals of midday meals in Provence.
Dos de loup de méditerranée cuit à la plancha, fine ratatouille aux goûts d’ici
4 portions sea bass (about 4oz/120g each)
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 sprig of fresh thyme
juice of 1 lemon
For the ratatouille
1 each small red and yellow bell pepper (prepared as below)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 eggplant, diced
3 small zucchini, diced
12 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and crushed
1 bouquet garni
fleur de sel (or coarse sea salt) to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of piment d’Espelette pepper (or mild chilli pepper)
3 Roma plum tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
3 tablespoons (30g) pitted green olives (preferably
Maussane, a Provençal olive, but any green olives will do), diced
Bake the bell peppers in a 410°F (210°C) oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, then seal in a plastic bag for 15 minutes. Strain, and save the juice for later. Discard the stems, seeds, and white flesh. Dice.
Add oil to a skillet, cook the eggplant until al dente. Do the same with the zucchini. Drain.
Place the garlic, eggplant, zucchini, and bouquet garni in a casserole dish. Season with the salt, pepper, and piment d’ Espelette pepper, then add the tomatoes, bell peppers, bell pepper juice, and olives and stew for a few minutes.
Fry the fish in the olive oil in a pan seasoned with garlic and thyme until brown. When cooked, season with lemon juice.
Serve with the ratatouille.
Originally published in FrenchEntrée Magazine