Owners' Recipe • Sea Bream & Haricot Beans
Here's a delicious-sounding recipe from our friends Roy and Goretti - one a Scottish chef, one a Catalan whisky expert - who run the 12th-century La Rectoria de Sant Miquel de Pineda in the wooded hills of La Garrotxa, Spain.
"One of the characteristic themes of Catalan cooking is 'mar i muntanya', the combination of ingredients from the sea and the land," they say. "Our guests love this... Bon profit! (Good appetite), as we say in Catalonia."
4 x 110g fillets of sea bream
2 x 70g squid, cleaned and cut into 2cm slices
100g chorizo, diced
100g bacon, cut into lardons (thick match sticks)
100g haricot beans
3 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, cut in half length ways, then chopped
2 sticks celery, cut in half length ways, then chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp thyme seeds
½ tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp saffron strands
2 bay leaves
1 tin plum tomatoes
3 fl oz white wine
5 fl oz fish stock
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Soak the haricot beans in water overnight. The next day rinse them, then boil in seasoned water until tender and set aside.
In a large pan heat the oil and sauté the onion for a couple of minutes, then add the leek, celery, garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Add the thyme, paprika, saffron, bay leaves and the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until it reduces to a thickish sauce.
In a separate pan, sauté the squid over quite a high heat and remove from the pan. In another pan sauté the lardons until light brown and crispy.
Add the wine to the cooked vegetables and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, then add the stock and chorizo and simmer. Add the cooked squid, lardons and haricot beans to the simmering sauce.
In a large sauté pan heat some olive oil. Dredge the skin side of the bream fillets in a little flour and place in the sauté pan. After a couple of minutes turn over the fillets (the skin should be slightly brown). Cook for a further two or three minutes.
When the bream is ready, place two or three large tablespoons of the bean mixture into large bowls dividing the squid and chorizo between the bowls and place the bream skin side up on top.
La Rectoria sits on the via verde cycle track that runs from the pyrenean foothills to Gerona and the Costa Brava. It's a lovely retreat for active families, yet Gerona is so close.
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