Giorgio Locatell’s Plaice with Basil, Potatoes and Olives

Fish & Seafood

Filetti di Passera al Basilico con Patate e Olive


2 bunches of basil, picked

1 bunch of parsley, picked

1 garlic clove

125ml extra-virgin olive oil

50-60g ciabatta, crust removed and soaked in water

1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

8 new potatoes, unpeeled

salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 black olives, preferable Tagiasche, stone in

4 tablespoons tomato passata

8 skinless plaice fillets, each about 150g

4 teaspoons sunflower oil


1 Keeping back a few leaves, put the basil into a food processor with the parsley leaves, garlic and 4 teaspoons of the olive oil. Whiz until the herbs and garlic are chopped. Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add to the herbs and oil. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the rest of the olive oil, and continue to process until you have a bright green paste. Put into the fridge until needed.

2 Put the unpeeled potatoes into cold salted water, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cook until just tender (about 15-20 minutes), then drain.

3 Stone the olives.

4 Put the tomato passata into a small pan, season and add 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. Leave over a low heat to reduce and thicken to a sauce-like consistency.

5 Peel the potatoes and cut in half.

6 On a clean work surface, lay out the plaice fillets and cut each one across in half. With a small table knife or spatula, spread each fillet with some of the herb paste, leaving a border all the way around the edge about 5mm wide. Cover with clingfilm to avoid the crust darkening.

7 Heat a non-stick pan, and put in a tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. Put in the potatoes and cook them until golden all over. Add the olives and toss for a minute or two – don’t let the olives get too dry. Turn off the heat.

8 Get two more non-stick pans medium-hot and divide the sunflower or vegetable oil between the two pans. Lift each piece of fish and put it into the pan, crust side down. Season the flesh and let the fish cook until the crust becomes slightly golden and the borders of fish around it become completely golden.

9 Turn the heat on under the potatoes and olives. Add the basil to the pan containing the tomato sauce.

10 When the fish has become white and opaque almost to the top, turn it over, then immediately take the pan off the heat.

11 Spoon the potatoes and olives on to each of your serving plates, drizzle the tomato sauce around. Lift the fish out of the pan, place on top of the potatoes and drizzle over the rest of the olive oil. Serve.

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