Unleash your Latin spirit with this Argentine-style sea bass with chimichurri on a bed of aubergine lentil stew. My favourite dish at the moment – the chimichurri is insanely fresh and fiery!
Chimichurri. Don’t you love the sound of that word? It makes me think of naughty kittens (I like kittens, in case you haven’t guessed!), skipping and somehow, being tickled. It’s the kind of word that, if you say it aloud a few times, just makes you happy. Try it!
Of course, chimichurri has nothing to do with cats. It’s a super-spicy Argentine sauce made of chopped parsley, garlic and chilli and is normally used to marinate meat. Its name probably comes from the Basque word tximitxurri, which can loosely translated as “a mixture of several things in no particular order”. Incidentally, chimichurri also tastes fantastically fresh, tangy and fiery. And it doesn’t only work with meat. It’s also amazing with white fish!
I love super-spicy food, but with a 10-year-old in this house I have to limit my enthusiasm dramatically as I refuse to cook separate meals for separate people. Instead, we are patiently waiting for her spicy-food-genes to activate and, in the meantime, keep the pepper on the table.
Last night though, she had a sleepover. Chimichurri-time!
I had some sea bass in the fridge and decided to make it with what you could call a lentil caponata – I am just loving these foreign words today. Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant dish, which includes onion and tomatoes. For the record, the word caponata doesn’t make me think of anything in particular. Are you getting any associations? Do let me know.
This dish may need a little more time and love than my usual recipes, but it is well worth the effort. Once you have added all ingredients into the pan, it’s just a matter of sitting down with a glass of something and waiting for the magic to happen. I used cooked lentils because I happened to have them in my larder and like to take any shortcut I can – if you prefer to cook yours from scratch, you would have to add 25 minutes to your cooking time.
The fish is simply added on top of the aubergine and lentil mix and steams in just five minutes, which makes it incredibly soft and tender. Then you spoon a generous amount of chimichurri on top and unleash your Latin spirit.
Go on, say it again. Chimichurri!
- 1 large aubergine, peeled and chopped
- 500g cooked puy lentils
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 ripe vine tomatoes, chopped
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- red wine vinegar
- 4 large sea bass fillets
- 50g spinach, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 fresh red chilli
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 bunches of flat leaf parsley
- Peel and chop the aubergine. Place in a pot with 2 cm of water, bring to the boil and steam on a low heat for 10 minutes until cooked.
- In the meantime, fry your onions with a spoonful of olive oil in a large pan on a low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and one tablespoon of red wine vinegar and stir. When the aubergine has cooked, drain the remaining water and add the aubergine to the pan as well, along with the (cooked) lentils. Season with pepper and salt, put on the lid and cook for 20 minutes until you get a nice, thick sauce. Check half way through and add a little water if necessary.
- Place the sea bass fillets on top of the lentil aubergine stew, replace the pan lid and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
- Now make the chimichurri. Roughly chop your garlic, deseed the chilli and place it in the food processor along with the parsley leaves (I remove the bottom half of the stalks, but leave the leaves on the top half). Give it a whizz, then dress with a little olive oil, the lemon juice and 1 tsp of red wine vinegar. If you don't have a food processor, you'll have to chop the lot by hand. Sorry, folks!
- Carefully remove the fish from the pan. Stir the chopped spinach leaves through the aubergine lentil stew and divide between plates. Serve the fish on top, with a generous spoonful of chimichurri.