Angela Hartnett's starter recipes

Marinated sea bream

An economical alternative to sea bass, bream is a versatile fish and can be served as carpaccio, pan-fried or oven-baked.

Serves 4

4 sea bream fillets, skinned and pin-boned
3 blood oranges
3 tbsp olive oil
Soy sauce (optional)
4 breakfast radishes, sliced
½ bunch watercress, leaves picked from the stems
Small bunch of coriander, leaves picked from the stems
1 tsp sesame seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the sea bream at an angle into thick slices. Peel two of the blood oranges and divide them into segments. Cut the third orange in half and squeeze out the juice.

Mix two tablespoons of blood orange juice with the olive oil to make a vinaigrette and add a dash of soy sauce if desired.

Put a little of the blood orange mixture on a plate, add the bream and season. Then pour on the rest of the juice mixture and leave the fish for 3–4 minutes.

Garnish with the orange segments, radish slices, watercress, coriander and sesame seeds, then serve immediately.

Spiced aubergine

This is my version of caponata. The classic dish includes capers and anchovies, which you can add if you like, but I prefer to keep it simple.

Serves 4
2 large aubergines
100ml olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Good pinch of cumin
Handful of basil leaves, torn
Handful of coriander leaves, picked from the stems
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted in a pan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the aubergines into chunks about 2cm thick and put them in a colander. Add about half a teaspoon of salt and leave the aubergines to drain for half an hour.

Heat 25ml of the olive oil in a pan and saute the red onions until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook until you have a nice little tomato and onion stew. Season, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add half of the remaining olive oil to the pan and saute half the aubergine chunks until tender. Remove and drain them on kitchen paper, then add the rest of the oil to the pan and saute the remaining aubergine.

Put the tomato and onion back into the pan with all the aubergine and add the red wine vinegar, cumin, basil and coriander. Mix everything well and finish with the pine nuts. Check the seasoning and serve.

Braised fennel

This fennel dish is perfect with fish and also goes well with chicken.

Serves 4
2 fennel bulbs
2 tbsp olive oil
200ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 rosemary sprig
1 star anise
Squeeze of lemon juice, for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the fennel into quarters or eighths, depending on size, and season with olive oil and salt.

Heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan and brown the fennel on both sides. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4.

Transfer the fennel to an ovenproof dish. Pour in the stock and add the rosemary, star anise and seasoning. Bake for about 25 minutes or until soft and tender. If necessary, top up with more stock or water so the fennel doesn't dry out. Squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.

Braised chicory with pancetta and parmesan

For extra crunch, add some breadcrumbs with the parmesan. This dish is good with beef or venison or can be served by itself.

Serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil
4 large heads of chicory (Belgian endive), cut in half lengthways
100g pancetta, chopped
125ml double cream
50g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the chicory and colour on both sides. Place in an ovenproof dish. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4.

Add the pancetta to the frying pan and saute briefly, then add the cream and cook until slightly thickened and reduced. Season, then pour the pancetta and cream mixture over the chicory.

Sprinkle with grated parmesan and bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes or until the chicory is cooked and the topping is golden brown.

• Extracted from A Taste of Home: 200 Quick and Easy Recipes by Angela Hartnett, to be published by Ebury Press on 7 July at £25 (order a copy from the Guardian bookshop for £18.49). © Angela Hartnett 2011. Photographs © Jonathan Lovekin

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