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Nick Nairn’s Recipe- Fish with Chorizo and Black Olive Mash

Fillet of Market Fish with Chorizo and Black Olive Mash

Nick says, ‘This is one of my favourite fish dishes – just pick whichever white fish looks best on the fish counter that day. The fish, chorizo and olives make a great full-flavoured combination.’

Serves 4

4 x 160g thick fillets fresh white fish (sea bass/cod/halibut)

80g chorizo, thinly sliced

4 bay leaves

3 tbsp olive oil

2 sprigs basil

700g mashed potato

50g unsalted butter

splash double cream

70g stoned black olives, chopped

1 tbsp chopped flat parsley

250g green beans, blanched (2 mins)

30g unsalted butter

Maldon salt

freshly milled black pepper

squeeze lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Heat an ovenproof stainless steel frying pan and add the olive oil. Lightly season the fish and add to the pan, skin side down.

Add the sliced chorizo and bay leaves to the pan and cook quickly alongside the fish to allow the flavours of the chorizo to be released. When the fish skin is lightly coloured, turn the fillets over to colour the flesh side, then turn back to the skin side. Transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking the fish. Exact cooking times depend on the thickness of the fish, but 5 minutes in the oven should be about right for the average fillet. The fish should be cooked so that the skin is crisp and the inside firm but not rubbery. It’s not essential to finish in the oven, but for a thick fillet the more ambient heat of the oven cooks the middle well without burning the outside.

While the fish is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the cream. Add the mashed potato to the pan with salt and pepper, and work the butter and cream into the potato as it heats up. A heatproof spatula is good for this. Add the olives and parsley to the hot potato and stir in.

Remove the fish pan from the oven and add the basil leaves, then transfer the fish, chorizo, bay, and basil to a warm plate to rest. The fat in the frying pan will be a combination of olive oil and chorizo fat, flavoured by the fish. Tip two-thirds of this fat over the fish then add the well drained green beans to the hot pan. Turn up the heat and toss the beans in the hot oil for a minute to heat through and flavour them.

Set a scoop of olive mash on 4 warm plates, then a portion of beans on each. Place a piece of fish on the beans and sprinkle the cooked chorizo and basil around. Spoon some of the cooking juices and oil over the fish and serve.