As I am writing this the sun is beaming, I have the windows open and music playing and it feels like summer has arrived. People are wandering around trying to find a beer garden or any spot in the sun. Irish people tend to be thrown in to a blind panic when the sun comes out, it is almost as if we have to fit in as many summer activities as possible before the clouds move in. On these precious sunny days I crave mediterranean flavours. Olives, tomatoes, basil, lemons, garlic all washed down with a cold crisp white wine. I want my kip of a garden to suddenly become fabulous so I can eat outside and I want to be miraculously waxed, tanned and dressed in the kind of light summer dress ubiquitous in 1950’s Italian and French movies.
If I can’t have the full fantasy I can at least have the food. As the previous day had been a bit grim I had some fish and leeks ready for a warming fish pie, but today’s weather is not for comfort food. I stopped off on the way home and picked up some things that would make a light bean stew to go with the fish I already had in the fridge. I got some fresh cherry and a tub of semi sundried tomatoes, a jar of olives, a tin of butter beans, a bulb of fennel, a lemon and a bottle of white wine. I also picked up some of the Goodness Grain Olive & Tomato Gluten Free Bread. I like to have nice bread to mop up any lemony, olive oil juices that are left after dinners like this and this bread is good stuff. It is soft and full of flavor and doesn’t need to be toasted. A loaf of this bread and a pound of butter and I would happily eat myself up a dress size.
This is less a recipe and more of a few handfuls of tasty things thrown together in a pan and coming together to make a light, tasty summer dinner for two, perfect for a sunny evening.
- 2 Fillets of Hake or other white fish such as Cod
- 1 tin of butter beans, rinsed and drained
- A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon of semi sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup black olives, halved
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 bulb of fennel, trimmed, quartered and finely sliced
- 1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
- A hand full of parsley, finely chopped.
- Olive oil
- A knob of butter
- A good splash of white wine
- 1 Lemon quartered
- Salt & pepper to taste.
1. Heat a pan and add a splash of olive oil and gently fry the shallots, garlic and fennel. You don’t want them to brown so cook them over a medium heat until translucent and soft.
2. Stir in the butter beans and heat through.
3. Add the tomatoes, cherry and sun dried and the olives and stir.
4. Add a good splash of white wine and the chopped parsley and allow everything to simmer try gently. You aren’t really cooking this just warming everything through and letting the flavours mingle. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. In another pan heat the butter and a another splash of oil.
6. When the butter is hot and foaming add your prepared fish fillets.
7. Cook over a medium heat until the the fish is nicely golden on one side and then gently turn the fish over. Continue to fry until the fish is cooked through. This will only take a few minutes but will depend of the thickness of the fillets. If you are nervous just use a fork to flake the fish gently to see if it is cooked through.
8. You can either serve the fish on a plate and spoon over the bean stew or you could nestle the fish in to the bean stew and serve it in the cooking pan. Serve the lemon quarters separately so people can squeeze over as much or as little lemon juice as they like.
Enjoy with the some good bread to soak up any juices and the wine of your choice, in whatever patch of sun you can find with some good company and pretend you are on holidays.