Neil Perry's grilled King George whiting with tomato and olive sauce

Neil Perry's grilled King George whiting with tomato, basil and olive sauce and aioli
Neil Perry's grilled King George whiting with tomato, basil and olive sauce and aioli  Photo: William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem

This is one of my favourite ways to cook fish at home. Use your oven's top grill section so you cook the fish only on one side and the heat travels through the rest. This is a quick and easy way to deal with many portions of fish at a time. Any fish works well, but flathead is an excellent alternative.

Ingredients

8 fillets of King George whiting 

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, quartered

sea salt

FOR THE AIOLI 

3 egg yolks

190ml olive oil

190ml extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed, with a pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp lemon juice

freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE TOMATO AND OLIVE SAUCE

3 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 punnets ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

100ml dry white wine or water

½ cup of pitted Ligurian olives

8 basil leaves, torn, plus extra for garnish 

Method

1. To make the aioli, put a saucepan large enough to hold a stainless-steel bowl on a bench. Place a tea towel around the inside (partly hanging over the edge) of the saucepan and place the bowl on top: this will hold it steady while you whisk. Put the egg yolks in the bowl and whisk. In a jug, mix both oils together. Add the garlic sea salt and lemon juice to the yolk and while whisking, drizzle in the oil very slowly, until incorporated and creamy. Add a grind of pepper and check for salt and lemon juice.

2. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan on a low-medium heat and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, then add tomato, wine and olives and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes are softening, squashing a few with the back of a spoon to thicken the sauce. Fold through the basil leaves. Keep sauce warm while the fish cooks. 

3. Turn the grill to high. Grease a baking tray with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place each fillet on it skin side up. Drizzle fillets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with sea salt. Place under the grill and cook for about 3 minutes, until the fish is white and the skin starting to bubble. Remove from the oven.

5. Spoon some sauce onto the middle of each plate and top with 2 pieces of fish. Place a teaspoon of aioli on each fillet then drizzle them all with the remaining olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Squeeze a quarter of a lemon on each dish, garnish with extra basil and serve.