Bass Agrodolce with Squash and Mushrooms

Succulent fish with woody mushrooms and spaghetti squash.
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • Pinch of dried crushed chilli flakes
  • 60ml red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash or marrow
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 350g mixed mushrooms (shiitake, chanterelle and/or oyster), cut into pieces if large
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 sea bass fillets (about 170g each), pin bones removed
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. To make the agrodolce sauce, heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil, the rosemary, whole garlic cloves and chilli flakes in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring, until the garlic is tender, 8 minutes. Set aside 1 tbsp of the garlic oil. Add the vinegar and sugar to the pan; simmer over medium-low heat until syrupy and caramelized, 5 minutes.

2) Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush the cut sides with the reserved garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side up in a baking dish and roast until tender, 1 hour. Reduce the oven to 140C/Gas 1. Holding the squash with a towel and using a fork, pull off the flesh in strands and place in the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven.

3) Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook, stirring, until browned, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

4) Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet, add the tomatoes and toss until they blister. Add 1 tbsp of the agrodolce sauce and a splash of water; cover and cook until the tomatoes burst, 5 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan and warm through.

5) Meanwhile, bring 2.5cm of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then place in a bamboo or collapsible steamer over the water; cover and steam until almost cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered to finish cooking, 2 to 4 minutes.

6) Place a fish fillet on each of 4 plates; add the squash, mushrooms and tomatoes. Drizzle with the agrodolce sauce. Serve with extra sauce and the caramelized garlic.

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