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En entrée: Filet de daurade à la plancha, petit pain de mie avec tartare...


In the last few weeks, I did another of Fabrice’s Cours de Cuisine. It was à la plancha this time. You can make or buy a plancha (which is a heated metal plate) for the barbecue or you can use a girdle pan (not griddle!)…or you can do it all indoors in a non-stick frying pan! The photo of the real one is at the very end…sorry…!

This vinaigrette is absolutely wicked!! So even if you don’t do any of the rest…you have to try it!

On the day, the weather was perfect and we all had a wonderful time. All of the preparation was done in the kitchen, then we all went outside to cook two fantastic dishes. But, be warned, this was just the starter…!

Ingredients for eight people

4 fillets of sea bream

For the tartare:
1 kg of ripe tomatoes
3 shallots chopped very finely
1 large clove of garlic crushed to a paste
I handful of basil (we used the purple variety which made a good colour contrast)
2 ripe avocados
juice and zest of half a lemon
salt and pepper
olive oil

For the bread rolls:
500g plain flour
65g butter
10g salt
35g sugar (you could use a little less)
25g milk powder
25g fresh yeast (if frozen use 10g more)
150g water

For the vinaigrette orientale:

2 shallots chopped very finely
1 good clove of garlic crushed to a paste
a small handful of sesame seeds roasted in a dry pan
fresh basil and parsley
1 fresh lime leaf very finely chopped
4 tablespoons each of:
oyster sauce
soya sauce
sesame oil
olive oil
1 fresh red chilli pepper or a piece of dried chilli (to your own taste) very finely chopped.
juice and zest of one lime
salt and pepper
sherry vinegar (optional)

lettuce and fresh herbs


1. Start with the bread.
Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Rub in the butter, then finely crumble in the yeast. Add the water and mix well. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until not too sticky. Wrap in cling-film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. The bread can be made in advance and frozen at this point.

2. Make the tartare.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and slit a cross on their bottoms. Submerge in boiling water for 30 seconds then refresh in cold water.

Peel the tomatoes and cut into quarters. Remove the seeds and discard (or save for making soup/sauce). Cut the flesh into small dice. Cut the avocados to the same size. Add the very finely chopped shallots and herbs, the lemon juice and zest and a drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste and add the garlic just before serving.

3. Make the vinaigrette.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl or a container and mix well. I didn’t put too many sesame seeds in mine as I don’t really like the texture. If it’s too oily for your taste at this moment (it wasn’t for us), add some sherry vinegar and mix well.

4. Make the bread rolls.
Cut the dough into pieces weighing between 80 and 90 grams. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten and place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Leave to prove in a warm place, then bake in the oven at 180°C for around 15 minutes.

5. Cut each fillet in half across its width. Lightly score the skin of the sea bream. It helps if you “pinch” the flesh as you do this. Salt and pepper just before cooking.

6. Heat and oil the plancha. When it’s good and hot, cook the vegetables for about five minute. At the last minute, add some BBQ sauce and allow it to caramelise. Then move them to a warm place.

7. Place the fish skin side down on the plancha surface and cook for two minutes. Turn the fish and cook for a further two minutes.

7. Assemble the dish.
On each plate or chopping board, sprinkle a diagonal line of paprika, fleur de sel (soft sea salt) and roasted sesame seeds. If you have some balsamic reduction make a flourish in the bottom left hand side. Place a small amount of lettuce on top. Place some fresh herbs beside it. Cut open the rolls leaving the top half “hinged”. Place one on each board. Fill with tartare and allow it overflow onto the board above the diagonal. Place the fish on top of the tartare and close the roll. Liberally decorate with the vinaigrette.

8. ENJOY!!!

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Sorry Karen im not a good cook (just love eating) & im not up on all this fancy food thing.
Thing is in the first photo I thought you'd dropped it!
Bet it tasted lovely :-)

10 Aug, 2012


LOLOLOL!! Willi, it was a group presentation...not mine! Honest!! ;D

Try the vinaigrette, tho' work at all...and delicious!
...even on eggs! :)

10 Aug, 2012


I am so sorry Karen, how rude am I !
I would love to eat it all, but I will get PoppyL to make the vinaigrette for me, she is a very good chef.
Maybe she might do the whole thing for me! Lol.

10 Aug, 2012


Oh Karen, sounds WONDERFUL. and looks wonderful too (sorry Willie), I will give it all a whirl when I have a bit more time. Can't guarentee the weather tho'. Jx

10 Aug, 2012


Not that keen on fish..unless its smokies or haddock hen :~
looks great tho :))))

10 Aug, 2012


Hey Karen, Ive been waiting with baited breath for your next installment of french cuisine. This looks fab although Im not sure if Im not too lazy to make the bread too or too impatient. Ill definately give the rest a try. I hope we get the weather to go with it. Willi is right she is good at eating the food, but us cooks need people like that dont we.
ps. Polite request - can we have a picture of Fabrice in the next blog??

10 Aug, 2012


This looks great! I really fancy the vinaigrette!

10 Aug, 2012


That all looks fabulous! Now ... can I ask you a question please? What is the advantage of using dried milk in bread? I've not heard of it before and am curious to know what it does better than fresh milk.

11 Aug, 2012


Good question Nariz quite a lot of recipes call for it though......

It looks wonderful Karen, woyld it work with seabass do you think, I like it better than the bream?

On my favorites to save these lovely recipes......

Thanks Karen x

11 Aug, 2012


Hello everyone!
I've had this saved for a few weeks now. Just didn't have time to publish it! I've made it a few times since. It is really easy and delicious...and only the starter!

It's so nice to do it all outdoors, Jane - but, if there's no weather window - you can do it all in the kitchen in frying pans! I've tried it, it works!

You could use any fish, long as you leave the skin on...I like sea bass better too...

Or no fish,'s what they call a "deconstructed" burger lol! Chicken would work just as well!

The bread only took a few minutes Poppy...I was really surprised. Fabrice said it has to be fresh yeast though...and I don't know how easy it is to come by. I have to get it from the boulangerie in town...which, I admit, I haven't gotten around to

Nariz, I think that the milk powder gives the bread a softer, less open texture. This bread is quite sweet, like a home-made burger bun.

Mel, if you make that vinaigrette once, it'll become a favourite - I promise!

I'm going to post the main course soon, which is, Magret de Canard façon Rossini, à la plancha, Pommes Darphin, petits legumes, sauce BBQ. (yes, it is darphin...I wondered too!)

Poppy, I think that you should get it all ready and leave the presentation to Willi...while you cook the main event! lol! ;)))

And, I will post a photo of Fabrice when I go next time - just not sure when it is yet :)

11 Aug, 2012


Hm! Not fond of sweet bread! I'm tangoing with ciabatta and trying to get that right at present, so I think I'll leave attempting anything with dried milk for now. We often eat bream here (known as Dorada) and serve it up with a mix of softened vegetables with garlic and herbs, similar to ratatouille, so I'm already familiar with the gorgeous flavour of such a meal! I suppose when you think the recipe only has to travel over the Pyrennees it's not that different! :o)

11 Aug, 2012


excellent Karen, just printed that off, will have to have a try of that soon :-)

11 Aug, 2012


I'm not normally up for sweet breads either, Nariz, but this one does work with the vinaigrette. The next recipe will be even more familiar to you, except it's with duck instead of fish...but, the plancha is a Basque cooking thing, I think, isn't it? :))

You'll love it SL! It's so impressive and delicious (and, secretly, easy-peasy)! :))

11 Aug, 2012


Oh, would love to do it just need some decent weather. Jx

11 Aug, 2012


That would not be here tonight, J...

...several days of 40°+ temperatures have brought in a storm...there'll be forky lightning tonight, I think... get the candles organised... :/ x

11 Aug, 2012


Oooooohh forky, I like that...................from a distance. Jx

11 Aug, 2012


Makes the electricity go down though...and blows up computers...
Candles ready...if it comes, I'll try to take photos! x

11 Aug, 2012


Not sure of its origin, Karen, but many items on restaurant menus here are ' ..... a la plancha.' Wish your storm would come here - we need it to clear the air and bring down the temperatures!

12 Aug, 2012


There are a couple from Dax run a bodega here, Nariz, and everything is cooked on the plancha. Their mussels (with loads of garlic, chillies and parsley) are to die for...I can't resist them!

The storm didn't come to much, in the end...just lots of rumbling...but, at least, the air is fresher this morning.

12 Aug, 2012


Did I say something wrong or am I having another blond moment? Jx

12 Aug, 2012


I don't know what you mean, J... :s (puzzled face) x

12 Aug, 2012


I made a bit of a silly joke about hot air, much rumbling and coming to nothing. Well I thought I did, but then it wasn't there next time I looked. I did explain it was a joke, but maybe it was deleted.Or maybe I forgot to post it. It wasn't that funny anyway................! lol Jx

12 Aug, 2012


Lol! I do that...forget to hit the send button...
As it happens, you were quite right...that's exactly what it was! lol! x

12 Aug, 2012


How lovely, wish there were courses like this here ...and sun you use bought bbq sauce though? I'm not keen on that ....or fish really, but this sounds a good way to cook them. Are there french people learning too or all foreigners?:-)

13 Aug, 2012


It's been French, English, Irish, Dutch and me (Scottish) so far, varying ratios...and it's always fun - but more so when there is a French presence (the chat about ingredients etc is more interesting, since I live here).

But, wash your mouth out with carbolic, Ba. Fabrice? Shop bought?? Perish the thought!! lol! It would never happen...oh law, law, law, law, law, law (that was an attempt at describing the local accent for dismay, btw)!

The BBQ sauce is to come in the next installment...I really don't like BBQ sauce, so this one really surprised me...the ingredients include some of the usual suspects - and a couple of secret ingredients. All will be revealed! :)))

13 Aug, 2012


Ooooh can't wait, I'll have to make you a favourite in case I miss it:-)

13 Aug, 2012


Do it Ba, do it NOW! lol Jxxx

14 Aug, 2012

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