So this is day 4 of “no carbs, no dairy” week. What happened to day 3, you ask? Well, I had a bit of a bender and gave into temptation. Day 3 was met with a visit to Boho Mexica, and I sank about five small corn tortillas in addition to some chips and guacamole.
Other than this small moment of indiscretion, I have been practicing my discipline with the utmost care and precision. I have eaten more leafy greens this week than I have in my entire lifetime. And well, let’s just say I’ve seen the results first hand, and it’s been “productive”. I was so shocked the other day that I almost thought it required documentation, although that would have been a step too far. The good news is, I am feeling great. I actually might continue this crazy experiment for another week just for shits and giggles.
Tonight I made one of the simplest meals of the century. It is always a crowd pleaser, and if you decide to serve it for a dinner party your guests will be fawning over you for days. During my lunch hour, I walked up Essex Road and sourced all my ingredients from the locals in about 15 minutes. Again my choices were impromptu and dictated by what looked best. I chose yellow tomatoes for their beautiful colour, and then I saw the purple radicchio. I was so excited to see it. It is something that’s easily available in the States, but for some reason is quite elusive here.
So thank you veg stall, James Elliot, and Steve Hatt. You are all literally next door to each other, and I don’t know anywhere else in London where you can put together a £15 meal for two with the same quality and convenience.
Roasted Sea Bass with Yellow Tomatoes, Radicchio, and Crispy Bacon
For the fish:
1 whole sea bass, cleaned and gutted
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon
2 birds eye chilis, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 lemon slices
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 220 C grill/425 F. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and chilies. Place the fish on your oven grill pan and brush the cavity with the lemon/oil mix. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, then fill with 3-4 sprigs of rosemary, garlic, and lemon slices. Brush both sides of the fish with the lemon/oil mix and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.
1 head of radicchio, quartered and cored
500-700 g of yellow grape tomatoes
a very generous glug of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
5-6 pieces of streaky bacon (regular bacon for Americans), diced
Fry the bacon until somewhat crispy. In a small bowl, mix the balsamic, olive oil, sugar, and salt and pepper. Add the bacon, then toss together with the tomatoes and radicchio. Place in a shallow baking tray.
Add both the fish and the veg to the oven at the same time, keeping the fish on the top rack. Roast both for 20-30 minutes. If the skin is not as crispy as you would like, crank up the heat or broil for 5 minutes until charred. Remove the fish and do the same for the veg just to get the edges nice and crispy.
I usually serve the fish whole and let everyone pick off the main serving plate. It’s more fun this way.