Black bream with lemongrass and coconut

Stuart Gillies serves a wonderfully light fish dish with fragrant lemongrass, paired with a potato salad and charred onion dressing
By Stuart Gillies
Black bream with lemongrass and coconut
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus two hours chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the black bream

  • 1 sticks lemongrass
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 10 g ginger, skin on, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh coconut, milk only
  • 1/4 fresh coconut, grated
  • rapeseed oil
  • 1 whole black bream, gutted, fins removed
  • 1 banana leaf, (or subsitute with aluminium foil)
  • small bunch coriander
  • sea salt
  • olive oil

For the potato salad

  • 500 g jersey royal potatoes, washed and lightly scrubbed
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1/4 bunches basil
  • black lava sea salt, (or regular sea salt)

For the charred onion dressing

  • 1 red onion
  • pinches sugar
  • pinches salt
  • 2 beef tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 50 ml sherry vinegar
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chives


1. For the bream: pound the lemongrass, shallot, ginger, coconut milk, grated coconut, rapeseed oil and sea salt together in a pestle and mortar until the mixture forms a thick paste.

2. Wash the fish thoroughly, including the cavity, then score on either side with the tip of a sharp knife. Rub the paste over the fish, both inside and out. Wrap in a single piece of banana leaf and tie up with string (or wrap in two layers of foil), then transfer to the fridge to chill for about two hours.

3. For the potato salad: place the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then transfer to a bowl and drizzle over the olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkle over the basil and season to taste with salt.

4. For the charred onion dressing: slice the onion into thick 1cm rings, taking care not to separate the layers. Season with sugar and salt and drizzle with two tablespoons of the olive oil.

5. Heat a grill to high and add the onions, colouring on both sides for 2-3 minutes on each side, until well-charred. Remove from heat and leave to cool for five minutes, then roughly chop.

6. Transfer the chopped onion to a bowl, add the remaining olive oil and sherry vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then toss well to coat.

7. Remove the fish from the fridge and cook on the barbecue for 8-10 minutes on each side, then leave to rest for ten minutes.

8. To serve, lay the tomatoes onto a serving plate and drizzle over the charred onion dressing. Sprinkle over the chives. Spoon the potato salad next to the tomatoes, then place the barbecue fish on top.

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