We’ve had some really unpredictable weather in Cape Town lately, so when the sun came out on Saturday I took myself off to the market and selected some fresh fish and produce to create a dish that I thought would embody summer.
I got a small fillet of yellowtail from Julie Carter of Ocean Jewel Fresh Fish and grilled it simply with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. I dressed the fish with some pink peppercorns, lemon juice, flakes of zest, shredded mint leaves and olive oil.
It’s a simple dressing, but also one with punchy flavours that stood up well with the gamey flavour of the fish. I served the fish with a very simple radicchio, fennel and apple salad. The bitter, anise, sweet notes of the salad ingredients livened up the dish in a big, fresh way.
What you’ll need… Serves 2
500g fillet of yellowtail, skinned, pin bones removed, cut into 2 portions
2 tsp olive oil
salt to season
For the dressing:
1 tsp pink peppercorns
10-12 mint leaves, shredded
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp lemon zest flakes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1/2 small head radicchio, washed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium fennel bulb, top & root removed, chiffonaded or shredded finely
1 tsp fennel leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fine salt
1/2 green apple, sliced thinly
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp castor sugar
Place the shredded fennel in a bowl with the salt, and leave for 15 minutes to draw. Place the apple slices in a separate bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice and sugar.
Combine the ingredients for the pink peppercorn dressing and mix well. Set aside.
Heat a grill or griddle pan, or prepare a braai to hot. Season the fish fillets with the oil and salt. Sear the fish on the grill on either side for 5-8 minutes, only touching once to turn. Remove the fish fillets to a plate and allow to rest.
Rinse the salt from the fennel and drain well. Dry with kitchen paper and place in a large bowl. Add the radicchio and fennel leaves and the apple slices (with the sugar and lemon juice) to the bowl and toss together. Dish the salad between 2 plates and serve with the rested fish, dressed with the peppercorn and mint dressing.
Wine pairing: I paired this dish with a 2008 Aurelia MCC, a Chardonnay Pinot Noir blend hailing from Darling. A pale straw colour with a fine, exuberant mousse, this held it’s own against the bold, fresh flavours of the salad and the dressing. Available from Morvino.