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Destinations is the restaurant at the Holiday Inn Stevenage, which opened earlier this year. The hotel is not like other Holiday Inns - it enjoys four-star status for a start and boasts the all-new corporate logo plus leading-edge design features - and the restaurant follows suit. It has a separate entrance and a head chef in the person of Adam Hale charged with creating an outlet not just for hotel guests but for the general public too.
His sea bass recipe is one example of how he is going about this, creating dishes that push the envelope of the usual perception of hotel food. Other examples from the newly-introduced autumn/winter menu are likely to include ham croquettes with tomato jam as a starter and crab linguine among the mains. Desserts feature gluten-free chocolate polenta cake and home-made churros with apple and cinnamon compote.
Pan-fried fillet of sea bass with confit vine tomatoes and garlic, flavoured with rosemary and white wine and served with toasted rustic bread
Preparation time: 25mins
4 x 200g scaled, trimmed sea bass fillets
800g washed vine cherry tomatoes
8 cloves garlic smashed with the side of a knife
2 finely chopped shallots
100ml dry white wine
1 dessertspoon tomato paste
2 sprigs tender rosemary
150ml extra virgin olive oil
4 lemon wedges
Salt and pepper
To cook the tomato confit:
Heat pan with a little olive oil, add shallots and garlic and cook gently until they start to soften but not colour. Add the tomato paste and cook for 3-4mins, add the tomatoes and sprigs of rosemary and continue to cook until tomato skins start to blister. Add wine and increase temperature until the wine and tomato paste combine and start to reduce, pour in the olive oil, reduce temperature and leave to stew for 15-20mins, stirring gently every now and then so as not to mash up all the tomatoes. Season to taste and take out any woody parts of the rosemary. The wine, tomato juices and olive oil should have combined to make a thick sauce and there should be some almost whole tomatoes left to give texture to the dish.
To cook the sea bass:
Heat a non-stick pan on medium to high heat, add a little olive oil, pat the fillets dry with kitchen towel and season the skin side of the fish with sea salt. Lay the bass skin side down and drop a knob of butter in the pan to help give colour and a nutty flavour to the fish. After 3-4mins, turn the fillets carefully and continue to cook on a low heat for 2-3mins. Once fish is cooked, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over it.
Cut two fairly thick slices of rustic bread, brush lightly with olive oil and chargrill so it is crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle.
Take a large spoonful of the tomatoes and put in centre of each plate, lay one sea bass fillet per plate across them and set the bread to the side. Garnish with a few sprigs of frisse heart.
BOOK A TABLE
Destinations, Holiday Inn Stevenage, St George's Way, Stevenage SG1 1HS