Pan-fried gurnard with beans, ham and red pepper relish

Pan-fried gurnard with beans, ham and red pepper relish

A delicious dish of gurnard with beans and ham or you can use bream, bass, mackerel or red snapper as an alternative.

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
10 to 30 mins

Serves 4

By Nathan Outlaw
From Saturday Kitchen


For the red pepper relish

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 3 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 480g jar of chargrilled red peppers in vinegar brine, drained and roughly chopped
  • 400g tin good-quality chopped tomatoes
  • 100g/3½oz soft brown sugar
  • 150ml/5fl oz red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few fresh thyme sprigs

For the beans and ham

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced into fine half moons
  • 4 anchovies in oil, chopped
  • 8 slices Parma ham, sliced
  • 400g tin borlotti beans, drained
  • 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
  • 200ml/7fl oz fish or chicken stock
  • 3½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp picked thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped leaf celery
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the gurnard

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 gurnard fillets, skin on and pin boned
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. To make the red pepper relish, place a large saucepan or seasoned cast iron pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and onion and fry for 3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and red chilli and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the smoked paprika and the chopped red peppers and cook for 4 minutes.

  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the relish is well reduced. Once the relish starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, stir the mix continuously until it looks like bubbling lava. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, or to a container and leave to cool. Once cooled, the relish can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  3. To make the beans, heat the oil and half the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the onion, garlic and celery and fry for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add the anchovy fillets and Parma ham and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Now add the beans, stock and vinegar and simmer gently for 5 minutes while you cook the fish.

  4. To cook the gurnard, mix together the smoked paprika, thyme and salt and season the fillets of fish all over with this mix.

  5. Take a large non-stick pan or seasoned iron pan and heat it over a medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and lay the fish skin-side down (you may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan). Gently fry the fish fillets for 3 minutes until the edges start to turn golden, then carefully turn the fish over and reduce the heat slightly. Cook for a further minute and then remove the pan from the heat.

  6. To finish the beans and ham, stir the herbs and the remaining butter into the beans, stirring continuously until the butter is incorporated. Taste for salt levels and adjust if necessary, then finish with black pepper.

  7. To serve, divide the beans between four warmed soup plates or big bowls. Top with the cooked gurnard and then add a heaped tablespoon of red pepper relish on top of each fillet. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over each dish and serve immediately.

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