2 small red mullet or snapper fillets , from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, scaled and pinboned
1 royal bream fillet or sea bass fillet , from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, scaled, pinboned and cut in half
freshly ground black pepper
2 small squid , from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, gutted and cleaned, tentacles trimmed and reserved
2-4 freshly shelled scallops , from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, cleaned and scored in a criss-cross fashion
10 medium asparagus spears , woody ends removed
1 small handful thyme tips
1 fresh red chilli , deseeded and chopped
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon , juice of
1 small handful fennel tops
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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, prawns 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 chilli as these flavours all work so well with asparagus and fish.
Get a really large frying pan, or two smaller ones, on the heat and add a lug of olive oil. Score the skin of your fish fillets all over, about 1cm deep, and season. Put the fish fillets into the pan, skin side down, with the squid tentacles. Add the scallops. Run your knife down one side of each squid to open them out, then quickly and lightly score the inside in a criss-cross 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 chargrilled, 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 chilli, 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 chilli and the fennel tops, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.