So what is to be made of Jamie Oliver? Multi-millionaire yet grass roots campaigner. Hard nosed businessman yet also a loveable rogue. Annoying yet seems to have an undeniable love for food and cooking.
On the cover of his Thirty Minute Meal book is a sticker claiming that over 2 million copies have been sold. Just to put that in perspective there are 20 million households in the UK. So that in one copy of Jamie’s book in every ten houses. Or to put it another way, if we conservatively estimate he gets 10% of cover price that is 2,000,000 x £26 x 10% = £5.2m to Sir James.
So this is my attempt at his sea bass and pancetta, sweet potato mash and Asian greens. In 30 minutes.
75g cubed pancetta
2 fillets of sea bass, skin on, scaled and pin-boned
1tsp fennel seeds
350g sweet potatoes
1 fresh red chilli
1 clove of garlic
Half a head of broccoli
Jamie tells us to get all our ingredients and equipment ready, get a kettle boiled and pans on hobs.
Something along the lines of this;
I really need some more work surface area.
- Set the timer for 30 mins
- 0 minutes; Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into two inch-ish size pieces and boil in salted water with half a lime.
- 5 minutes; “De-seed and finely chop the chilli, adding half to a large serving bowl and setting the rest aside. Crush the unpeeled clove of garlic into the bowl and add 2tbsp of soy sauce and 4-6tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and add a splash of sesame oil. Mix, taste and tweak with the soy sauce if needed. Trim the asparagus stalks. Quarter the head of the broccoli lengthways from the head to the base of the stalk.” Jamie’s words, not mine. But seems fair enough.
- 10 minutes; Fry the pancetta until it crisps. No need for any oil, it produces its own.
- 15 minutes; Once crisp remove the pancetta from the pan. Put it in a bowl or somewhere. Jamie has you putting the sea bass on now. He clearly likes he fish burned. Instead grind your fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and chop your fresh coriander and fresh chilli at this point.
- 20 minutes; Now start to cook you fish. Place skin down in the pancetta-ed pan and sprinkle the flesh with the ground fennel seeds. Hold the fish flat with a long spatula so it doesn’t arch up. Leave to crisp us the skin
- 21 minutes; Drain the sweet potatoes and return to the pan. Add the coriander and chilli you chopped.
- 22 minutes; Put the greens onto boil.
- 23 minutes; The fish should be ready to turn over now. Turn the pan down a bit first.
- 24 minutes; Mash the sweet potato/coriander/chilli mix with a ‘glug’ of olive oil.
- 25 minutes; The fish should be done. Remove from the pan and put it somewhere VERY SAFE.
- 27 minutes; Drain the greens.
- 28 minutes; Serve. Jamie wants it served on a board looking like a hot mess. We don’t.
Jamie’s serving suggestion.
- Put the mash on a plate with the sea bass on top. Serve the greens to the side with the dressing we made 23 minutes ago.
I really liked the sweet potato mash and I actually cooked a couple of times since. A great alternative to real potatoes. The sweetness of the chillies, the heat of the chillies and the freshness of the coriander really worked well together.
The sea bass was fine. Had I followed Jamie’s instructions it would have been very overcooked, but luckily I had the sense to know how long to cook a thin fillet of fish for.
It should be called Jamie’s 28 Minute Meals, really. Or I am two minutes better than him.