No matter what your budget, you can make this dish with all different types of fish. It's nice to try to get a mixture of oily and white fish fillets, alongside things like shellfish, shrimp and squid. You want everything to cook at the same time, so just make sure that whatever you use is all sliced up into pieces roughly the same size. You can cook it all together in a pan like I'm doing here or on the barbecue or, for a healthier way, you can steam it all - whichever, finish the dish off with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and chile as these flavors all work so well with asparagus and fish.
- Olive oil
- 2 small red mullet or snapper fillets, scaled and pin-boned
- 1 royal porgy fillet or sea bass fillet, scaled, pin-boned and cut in 1/2
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 small squid, gutted and cleaned, tentacles trimmed and reserved
- 2 to 4 freshly shelled scallops, cleaned and scored in a crisscross fashion
- 10 medium asparagus spears, woody ends removed
- 1 small handful thyme tips
- 1 fresh red chile, deseeded and chopped
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 small handful fennel tops
Get a really large frying pan, or 2 smaller ones, on the heat and add a glug of olive oil. Score the skin of your fish fillets all over, about 1/2-inch deep, and season. Put the fish fillets into the pan, skin side down, with the squid tentacles. Add the scallops. Run your knife down 1 side of each squid to open them out, then quickly and lightly score the inside in a crisscross fashion. Lay them in the pan, scored side down. Add the asparagus and gently shake the pan. Cook for a few minutes, then turn everything over and cook on the other side. Sprinkle over the thyme tips.
You're the one in control of the pan, so if something looks cooked, take it out and keep it warm. Don't watch things burn! When the fish has crispy skin, the scallops are golden brown with caramelized edges and the squid has curled up and is nicely charred, remove the pan from the heat. Put the squid on a chopping board and roughly slice it into pieces at an angle, then return to the pan. Lay the fish fillets on each plate. Toss the asparagus, scallops and squid with half the chile, a good drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon juice. Lightly season and mix together. Divide on top of the plated fish. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped chile and the fennel tops, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
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