Pan Fried Black Bream with Roasted Tomato Risotto



This is utterly fabulous and nowhere near as complicated as you think.  The risotto is partly cooked, cooled and finished off at the last moment, which is perfect if you have guests – nobody wants to be standing stirring risotto all evening. The sauce can also be cooked ahead, leaving you with very little to do when you’re ready to eat.

The Cornish black bream in this recipe was supplied by Ashton’s and was filleted to order.

Serves 2

Ingredients- Risotto:

100g Arborio rice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 large shallot, finely chopped

50ml white wine

500ml fish stock (cube is fine)

10 cherry vine tomatoes, halved

1 tsp sugar

olive oil

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Tomato Butter Sauce:

10 cherry vine tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tbp sherry vinegar

100 ml double cream

20g butter

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


2 bream, filleted


olive oil

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


Method- Risotto:

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the tomatoes on a tray, drizzle with olive oil, season and sprinkle on the sugar. Roast for 20 minutes until slightly charred. Remove from oven and blitz in a food processor until roughly chopped. Set aside.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pan, add the shallot and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rice and lightly sauté for 1-2 minutes until the rice is starting to turn translucent.

stir continuously from this point

Add the wine and ladle of stock and cook until absorbed. Continue to add the stock one ladle at a time – stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more – until the rice is just starting to soften but isn’t properly ‘al dente’ (around 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and immediately spread out on a cold baking sheet to halt the cooking process. When cold, keep in the fridge until required. KEEP THE REMAINING STOCK.

Ten minutes before you are ready to cook the fish, heat a ladle of the stock in a pan and add the rice and roasted tomatoes, stirring as before. Continue the process until the rice is just ‘al dente’ – too soft and you’ll end up with rice pudding!

Tomato Butter Sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and cook the tomatoes gently for 10 minutes, then blend in a processor with the sugar and sherry vinegar. Pass the puree through a sieve and return to the pan with the crean and seasoning. Set aside until required. Gently reheat & whisk in the butter just before serving.


Season the fish. Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan. Pan fry the fish – skin side down – for approx 4 minutes, until the flesh has almost all turned opaque and the skin is browning, then turn over for another minute. (Pressing the fish firmly down will help evenly brown the skin.) Serve immediately.

To serve: 

Spoon the risotto onto plates, top with some steamed veg (I used tenderstem broccoli), and finish with the fish – skin side up. Drizzle the sauce around the edge and serve.