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  • Bute St Seafoodie

Black Bream with Couscous and Tapenade

Updated: May 6, 2020

Line-caught bream is back on the stall. This is a recipe that is extremely simple, packs a punch of flavour, and being of Mediterranean influence, is perfect for this time of year. I found it in "Hugh's Three Good Things … on a Plate" (link below).

It's actually more of an assembly than a recipe, putting together three key flavours that accompany each other well. In the book, the recipe is called “Bream, olives, couscous”, the olive component being the Tapenade. If put together using a ready-made Tapenade, there really is very little to do for such a full-flavoured dish. But a fresh, home-made Tapenade is pretty straightforward (see recipe for Tapenade) and surely better.

Much as I love couscous, whenever I see a dish featuring it, I always think whether it would work with ‘cauliflower couscous’ (see note below), especially in the second half of the year when there’s plenty of cauliflower around. Cauliflower couscous became quite trendy in the last couple of years, and I find it a tasty way to get through the cauliflower that came in my veg box and squeeze another of the 5-a-day in!

Black Bream with Couscous and Tapenade

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

1 or 2 fillets of black bream

1 tbsp olive oil or cooking oil

Couscous (1 or 2 portions)

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and ground black pepper

Parsley and/or mint (optional), finely chopped

Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. If making the Tapenade, do it first, even several hours ahead, as it will only improve with some sitting time.

  2. Prepare the couscous according to preference. Once ready, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil into it, season to taste and, if using, stir in the chopped herbs. Fluff it up with a fork and keep it warm.

  3. Season the bream fillet(s) on both sides with sea salt and ground black pepper.

  4. Heat the olive or cooking oil in a frying pan, and when at a medium/high heat, add the bream fillet(s), skin-side down. Cook over a medium heat for about 2-3 minutes on the skin side to get a crisp skin, then turn them over, lower the heat of the pan and allow to finish cooking, 1-2 minutes.

  5. For each person serve a portion of the couscous, a fillet of bream, a generous helping of tapenade and a wedge of lemon. A salad is an ideal accompaniment.


  • To make cauliflower couscous, put small cauliflower florets in a blender and whiz until they form crumbs that look like couscous. Spread these over a baking tray in as small a layer as possible and put into a low oven, preheated to around 100°C (ideally with fan). Warm for 10-20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they have dried a little. At this point they can be treated as prepared couscous.


  1. "Hugh's Three Good Things", Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (2012), pp. 220:

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