Slow cooking courgettes never occured to me before but bringing these few, basic ingredients together over a low, simmering heat produces a dish that’s both comforting and light at the same time. Throughout lockdown I saw a similar dish, it’s cooled and then topped with feta, creating more of a dip or side dish. I decided to add my own twist on this, going bigger with the flavours, adding in fennel, lots of garlic and topping it with perfectly pan-fried white, flaky fish – all about that crispy skin.
450g courgette (2 medium courgettes – I like to use one yellow and one green. Yellow is much sweeter in flavour if you can get your hands on it!)
100g finely sliced fennel
3 finely sliced garlic cloves
1 x 240g tin of butter beans + bean water
1 tbsp olive oil
Handful of fresh dill (roughly 6g)
2 seabass fillets (4 if you’re hungry)
Salt and pepper
- Start by prepping your ingredients: slice your courgettes into 1/2cm pieces, and finely slice your fennel and garlic (I use a mandoline but this isn’t essential)
- In a deep pan with a lid or casserole dish, add the courgettes, fennel and two of the garlic cloves, along with a good glug of olive oil and a very healthy pinch of salt – keep the heat really low and the lid on
- Continue to cook the courgettes and fennel in this way for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If they begin to stick/caramalise at any point, add in a bit of the butter bean juice
- While they cook down, zest and juice half a lemon, and roughly chop the dill
- When 40 minutes has passed, add in the butter beans, the rest of their water, the final garlic clove, lemon zest, as well as another pinch of salt and a good amount of black pepper (It feels like a lot but this dish soaks up the seasoning, I usually do about 6-8 grinds of pepper). Cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid off
- Cooking your fish will only take a few minutes, so this is best left until last. Sea bass oozes a lot of natural fish oils so unless your pan isn’t a good non-stick one, you shouldn’t need to add in much/any oil
- Season the sea bass fillets and add to a hot frying pan, skin side down, cooking like this for two minutes until the skin is crispy, before flipping onto the flesh side for a further minute – be careful, it does spit out oil occasionally
- Once cooked, removed from pan and place on a cloth/kitchen roll to let the oils drain away
- Back to your courgettes and beans; they should be ready now, the sauce slightly reduced. Add in the juice of half a lemon and the chopped dill, taste and season further if required
- Serve the courgette and butter beans with the sea bass on top, as well as an extra wedge of lemon on the side
If you want to serve this dish with an extra side of vegetables, I recommend grilled asparagus or kale.
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