- Credit: Sea bass with mussels, creamed spinach and fennel
- Credit: Sea bass carpaccio
- Credit: Sea bass with squid ink risotto, buttered brown shrimps and dill
- Credit: Sea bass in a spring vegetable broth with pecorino
Recipe Of The Month: Sea Bass
Sea bass with mussels, creamed spinach and fennel (Serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely sliced
½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 fennel bulb, cut into wedges with fronds reserved
200ml dry white wine
200ml fish stock
100ml double cream
200g baby leaf spinach
4 sea bass fillets, trimmed
16–20 edible flowers (optional, to serve)
1- Put 1 tbsp olive oil and the butter in a large pan and add the shallots, fennel seeds and fennel. Season well. Cook for about 5 minutes, tossing the fennel from time to time until it’s golden.
2- Pour in the white wine and fish stock, cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and double cream and cover again. Simmer until the mussels open.
3- Stir in the spinach, cover again and turn the heat off. The heat of the pan will wilt the spinach.
4- Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and fry the sea bass, skin-side down, until the skin is crisp and golden. Season, turn the fish over and cook for a minute or two more.
5- Divide the spinach and mussel mixture evenly among four plates, then top with the fish. Chop the fennel fronds, scatter over the top along with the edible flowers, and serve.
Sea bass carpaccio (Serves 4)
For the tapenade:
75g stoned black or green olives preserved in brine, plus 1 tsp brine from the jar
Zest of ¼ lemon
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves
1–2 tbsp olive oil
For the fish and salad:
1 sea bass, filleted and skinned
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ redpepper, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
Small handful of rocket leaves
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1- Put the olives and brine, lemon zest, shallot, thyme and olive oil in a mini blender and season well. Blend to make a paste, then spoon into a bowl.
2- Finely slice the sea bass and arrange on four plates. Drizzle the lemon juice over the top and season with salt.
3- Sprinkle over the pepper and chilli, then garnish with the rocket. Spoon a teaspoonful of the tapenade onto each plate alongside the fish. Drizzle with olive oil, season again and serve.
Sea bass with squid ink risotto, buttered brown shrimps and dill (Serves 4)
For the risotto:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
150g risotto rice
325ml fish stock
125ml dry white wine, preferably Italian
16–20g squid ink
For the fish:
2–3 tbsp plain flour
4 small sea bass fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
100g brown shrimps
1–2 tbsp dill, chopped
1- To make the risotto, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion for 20–30 minutes until very soft. Add a splash of water every so often to ensure the onion doesn’t burn.
2- Add the garlic and rice and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring well to coat all the rice with the onion mixture. In another pan, bring the fish stock to the boil, then turn the heat down so the stock is barely simmering.
3- Add the white wine to the rice and stir. Simmer for a minute or two to cook off the wine.
4- Add the stock to the rice one ladleful at a time and stir constantly, allowing all the liquid to be absorbed before adding more.
5- Before adding the last two ladlefuls of stock, turn the heat right down. Preheat the oven to 225°F/110°C/Gas ¼.
6- Put the flour into a shallow dish, season with salt and black pepper, and dust each fillet well. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the sea bass in batches over a medium heat; then put the fillets in the oven to keep warm.
7- Add the butter to the pan with the shrimps and toss well to warm them through.
8- Stir the last stock into the risotto, followed by the butter and squid ink. Spoon among four bowls, top with the fish and shrimps, then garnish with dill.
Sea bass in a spring vegetable broth with pecorino (Serves 4)
For the broth:
Heads and bones from 2 sea bass
200ml dry white wine
1 bay leaf
Sprig of thyme
Sprig of rosemary
6 black peppercorns
For the fish:
100g fine asparagus spears, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 celery stick, diced
½ red pepper, diced
1 small carrot, diced
4 sea bass fillets, halved
1–2 garlic cloves, sliced
A squeeze of lemon juice
4 tsp crème fraîche
15g pecorino cheese
1- Put the fish heads and bones into a large pan and add 200ml white wine and 600ml water. Add the herbs and peppercorns, cover and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then strain.
2- Put the asparagus tips to one side, then combine the chopped stems in a large pan with 15g butter, olive oil, spring onions, celery, pepper and carrot. Gently melt the butter, then increase the heat slightly and cook for 1–2 minutes. Season well. Stir in the peas, then pour in the fish broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for a few more minutes. The vegetables should be cooked but just tender.
3- Lay the fish on top of the vegetables, then cover and turn the heat right down.
4- Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan, then stir in the garlic and reserved asparagus tips. Cook until the garlic starts to turn golden. Drizzle over the lemon juice and season.
5- Divide the vegetables, broth and fish among four bowls. Spoon the asparagus tips around the bowl. Put 1 tsp crème fraîche on each piece of fish, then grate a quarter of the pecorino over each plate.
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Recipes written by Emma Marsden.