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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Oven Baked Perch with an Almond and Breadcrumbs Crust or O.B.P.A.B.C.

What (!?!?!), you’re definitely gonna remember that abbreviation for a long time, especially after you taste this fish, pair it with a nice, crunchy, vibrant green bean side dish and a chilled Chardonnay.

So let’s get cracking. I used a big fish, around 2 kilos, that I filleted. 

For the crust:

100 grams of breadcrumbs, 

100 grams of almonds and 
100 grams of apricot seeds (just put them in the blender and use the ice crush mode, or, even better, use a kitchen robot to turn the seeds into crumbs),
3 tbsp. of finely chopped parsley,
salt and pepper
75 ml of olive oil

Of course you can replace the apricot seeds with something else (pine nuts, hazelnuts, etc.), but those little guys worked very nicely for me, they had just a faint hint of lemon that worked really well with the almond flavor. 

Mix everything together, place the fish in a tray, on top of some baking paper, lightly brush the fish with some olive oil and build your crust with the seed-breadcrumb mix. Make sure the fish is nice and covered all over, put it in the oven, medium high heat, 20 minutes or until the crust gets a golden color.

For the side dish, I had the joy if finding some very nice green beans in the farmer’s market, the talking point of those being the fact that they were around 30 cm long. 

For the greens, I also used: 
about 5 garlic cloves, 
the juice of 1 lemon, 
some grinded fennel seeds – about 1 tbs, 
salt, pepper, 
olive oil and 
2 of our home grown spicy purple chilies. 

Boil the beans whole in salted water until they are just about done, similar to al-dente pasta, remove from the water. Dice the purple bastards (remove the seeds if you care for that, or for some parts of your body), the garlic, heat some oil, fry the chili, garlic, fennel for 30 seconds, add the green beans and cook them like a nice stir fry for another 30 sec. Add salt, pepper, the lemon juice and make sure the greens are well coated with it, the idea is that the juice has a high amount of sugar (crazy, I know) so the beans will caramelized slightly and have a sleek look and a sour spicy taste with a powerful crunch.

Cook the beans in the lemon juice for 2-3 minutes, then turn the heat off, and (optional) add some chopped parsley and a couple of almonds and apricot seeds that you just grinded with a blade.

Plate everything and enjoy a surprisingly interesting combination in the company of tall glass of chilled Chardonnay. And for dessert, open up that second bottle of wine, you know you want it. 

Cheers and enjoy!

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