Baked Whole Wild sea Bream with Fresh White Coco Beans

The Coco de Paimpol is a white bean grown in the Côtes d’Armor region of Brittany. The term Paimpol comes from the port of the same name, where it is believed the beans were first imported from South America in the 1920s. They are now a staple of the Breton diet and their harvest between July and October is eagerly awaited. It was the first vegetable in France to be awarded Appellation d’origine contrôlée status.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole large sea bream, scaled, gutted and fins cut off
  • Olive oil

For the Beans

  • 500 g Fresh white beans, such as Coco de Paimpol, or good-quality dried
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50 g chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

Well ahead, prepare the beans: shell them if fresh, place in a saucepan with the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and bouquet garni. Add enough water to cover the beans by 5 cm. Bring to the boil – do not add salt at this stage or the exteriors of the beans will harden – and simmer gently until cooked, about 40 minutes.

When nearly tender, season the beans and strain through a colander, reserving 200 ml. of the cooking liquid and discarding the vegetables and bouquet garni. Put the beans on a tray to cool down.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3. Put the fish on a baking tray, liberally coat with olive oil and season generously. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish (the back) gives under pressure. Take out and leave to rest a little.

To serve, reheat the beans in the reserved stock, add the parsley and a splash of olive oil, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Peel the skin off the fish, season and serve with the beans.

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