Recipe: Ben Mills Photograph: Aaron Mclean
Hapuku is by far my favourite fish for cooking. It has a soft texture and a lovely sweet flavour. Cook only till medium done.
10 very ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced crossways
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Place the tomatoes and thyme on a lined roasting tray and season with a good drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of ginger, salt and pepper. Roast for an hour or so until the tomatoes begin to dehydrate and caramelize. Meanwhile, in a heavy-based saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of oil and cook the tomato paste on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the oil and paste have split and begun to catch slightly. This will bring a lovely richness to the sauce. Add the roasted tomatoes and vinegar and gently cook for a further 5 minutes. Purée in a food processor, check seasoning and adjust with a little sugar if need be. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 190 degrees Celsius. Heat an ovenproof frying pan and add a little oil. On a high heat, carefully place the fish, presentation side down, in the pan and fry for a minute or so until the fish begins to caramelize around the edges touching the pan’s surface. Without turning fish, place pan in the oven and roast for 4 minutes until the fish becomes opaque. Remove from oven, gently flip the fish over and allow it to sit in the hot pan for a further minute. Quickly add the cherry tomatoes to the hot pan to burst their skins.
To serve, place some hot tomato sauce on each plate followed by the hapuku and cherry tomatoes. Toss the rocket, fennel, lemon juice and some olive oil in a bowl, season with a little flaky salt and pile on top of the fish.