As winter draws nearer a good braise can warm the soul of even the coldest human but they can take hours. Here is a quick one that can be on the table within half an hour. As usual I like to increase the vegetable intake so here is a versatile vegetable braise that works equally well with chicken, lamb or the lovely crispy skinned snapper that I served it with.
Tomatoes are particularly high in lycopene which is a pigment responsible for their gorgeous deep red colour. Lycopene has many other fabulous qualities (apart from just the visual). It’s a powerful antioxidant and increasing clinical evidence point toward it having a protective effect against a broad range of epithelial cancers. Some examples of cancers that effect the epithelial cells are breast, prostate, lung, pancreas, and colon.
The amount of lycopene absorbed by the body isn’t just reliant on the amount you eat, it’s bioavailability (how easy it is to get into your body) is also a huge determinant in its effectiveness. This is one of those weird situations where fresh is not always best. The processing of the tomato changes it’s chemical properties significantly increasing it’s bioavailability – meaning you get more for less. So just incase you were wondering why I included a jar of passata in my recipe when I clearly am always banging on about fresh and natural foods there is method in my madness. Sometimes.
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 20 minutes
- Yield : 4
- Snapper fillets, skin on - 4
- Light cooking oil (grasped, olive, rice bran, your choice) - 2 tbsp
- Onion - 1, peeled, halved and then thinly sliced into semi circles
- Garlic - 2 cloves
- Fennel seeds - 2 tbsp
- Tomato passata - 750g jar
- Green Beans - 4 handfuls (around 400g) enough for 4 people
- Parsley - 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
- Pecorino or parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup, shaved
Roughly chop the garlic cloves and place into a mortar and pestle with the fennel seeds and 1/2 tbsp of the light cooking oil. Bash with the pestle to form a chunky paste.
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick pan (with a lid) to medium. Place the onions in the pan and sauté for around 10 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and fennel paste to the pan and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Add the passata and the beans to the pan, stir through then place the lid on top. Lower the heat and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frypan to a medium heat. Place the snapper fillets into the pan and cook for 3/4 minutes until the skin starts to crispy. Turn the fillets over and then cook for a further 2/3 minutes until just cooked through.
To serve, stir the roughly chopped parsley through the braised beans and divide between four plates. Scatter the shaved pecorino (or parmesan) over and place a snapper on top of each.