Pan fried sea bass with extra mature Mimolette and black olives
- 4 fillets of sea bass
- One soup spoon of chopped black olives
- One soup spoon of pickled gherkins (sweet pickled rather than sharp pickled)
- Two soup spoons of roughly chopped or flaked Isigny Sainte-Mère Label Rouge extra mature Mimolette
- One soup spoon of finely chopped chives
- Four small to medium globe artichokes (about the size of a tennis ball)
- A bunch of freshly gathered herbs, including tarragon, flat (also known as Greek) parsley and chives.
- Olive oil
- One lemon
- Salt and pepper
If you are not familiar with globe artichokes, you may wish to allow a bit more time and prepare the artichoke hearts in advance (see below). The cut surfaces will need to be rubbed with a slice of lemon to prevent blackening of the artichoke flesh.
Seal the fillets of sea bass in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, then put them in a hot oven (200 degrees C) for five minutes to finish cooking. While the fish is in the oven, prepare the sauce, mixing the chopped olives, the chopped gherkins, the finely chopped chives and one spoonful of the chopped Mimolette with a sprinkling of olive oil. Put aside in a cool place.
With a heavy knife, peel the raw artichokes: start at the widest point and peel downwards, saving the stem so that you have something left to hold it by later on. Once all the dark green leaves have been removed from the underside, hold it horizontally by the stem and cut firmly downwards at the widest point.
With a sharp blade and firm pressure on a chopping board, it is possible to chop the tops off small to medium artichokes in a single cut, removing all the thin, spiky filaments that make up the flower of a mature artichoke. Discard these and scrape off any remaining petal roots and rinse off any debris, before turning the artichoke round and cutting off the stem.
In large artichokes, you may need to remove a few fibrous bits at the centre of the saucer-shaped disk which makes up the heart of the artichoke. The cut surfaces of each artichoke heart should be rubbed with a slice of lemon before putting to one side to prevent blackening.
When all the artichokes are ready and just before taking the fish out of the oven, cut the artichoke hearts into matchsticks, season them with salt and pepper, and coat them with the juice of half a cut lemon and sprinkle with olive oil, before adding some freshly chopped herbs and the rest of the Mimolette.
Serve immediately, assembling on your plates the gherkin sauce on which you place the sea bass, with the finely chopped artichoke relish on the side.