Lemon sea bass with pomegranate and mint cauliflower ‘couscous’

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Obviously, I loved the Maui trip. And the amount of food — fresh fish, amazingly crafted sushi, American bar snacks, traditional Hawaiian feasts and treats — was mind-boggling, and that was partially the problem. I felt like a walking watermelon.

Thus, when we returned, I was excited to test out a nice and light recipe, with ‘faux’ grains. My dad honestly did not know it was cauliflower. He was convinced it was couscous. That either says something about the quality of my cooking…or his intelligence! Perhaps I should have bet money on it before asking him to guess what it was.

As ever, I’m such a sucker for the colours in this recipe. The tartness of the lemon and the slight pop of the pomegranate seeds really lift this dish, and brighten it up where it’s needed. You could swap the rocket for any other nice, flavourful salad you’ve got, or perhaps even some kale?

Serves 4, a a light dinner or lunch. 

4 sea bass fillets, skin on and pin-boned
1 cauliflower, leaves and tough bottom part removed
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp of mint, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon, plus a little zest (latter optional), plus 1 lemon, sliced
handful of pomegranate seeds
2 handfuls of rocket, rinsed
salt and pepper
parsley to serve
olive oil

First, season the fish with salt and pepper. Leave to the side for the moment.

Heat up a pan with a light coating of olive oil. Chop the cauliflower into florets, and add to the pan when hot, and turn to medium heat. Lightly fry the cauliflower until golden brown, about five minutes or so. Remove from the heat, and set aside.

Using the same pan, with a bit more olive oil if needed, place in the fish, skin-side down. Layer over the lemon slices on top of the flesh, about two slices per fish. Let it cook until crispy on the bottom, perhaps five minutes. In the meantime, add the cauliflower to a blender, and blend on high until you get small grains. Add the sesame seeds, mint, the lemon juice and zest, and a small lug of olive oil to the cauliflower couscous.

Once the skin is crispy, carefully flip over the fish so that the lemons are underneath – you may need two spatulas. Cook for another few minutes until the lemon slices are browned, and the fish is opaque and flaky.

Plate up with the cauliflower couscous and rocket, and top with a fish fillet each. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, parsley and serve immediately.

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