Chef Carl's sea bass
This dish comes courtesy of our head chef Carl. To ensure it’s sustainable he gets his sea bass delivered from a day fishing boat called, ‘Just Mine’, which fishes out of Christchurch Harbour. He even knows the name of the boat’s skipper, Nigel Hockley – marvellous!
The following recipe will serve two people for a lunchtime bite or it’ll do as a main dish fit for a Queen or King!
• 1 whole line caught sea bass
• 1 whole lemon
• 1 handful diced cucumber
• 1 handful of Lilliput capers (otherwise known as baby capers)
• 4 sprigs of Rosemary
• 8 pre-cooked new potatoes
• 250g unsalted butter
• Handful of freshly chopped English parsley
• Salt and pepper for seasoning
• Optional – lemon dressed side salad (cucumber, tomato, onions, salad leaves, lemon)
• Pre-heat your oven to 160°C / 165°C (gas mark 7).
• De-scale, gut and de-fin your sea bass. This should take you about 10 minutes to sort, but if you’d rather not get your hands dirty, a good fishmonger will probably be able to get the job done for you.
• Place your sea bass on a well buttered and seasoned oven tray with your new potatoes – put a bit of extra salt on these to add to the texture and flavour.
• Next, stuff the cavity (the body of the fish) with your rosemary, half of the lemon (be sure to slice it up), a little bit of butter and some salt and pepper.
• Place the oven tray in your preheated oven for 12 minutes – you might need to adjust the time slightly depending on your oven.
• While this is cooking away you can move on to making what’s called a Beurre noisette – (it basically means brown butter) – this will be drizzled over your fish to add to the taste. To make this you’ll need to put the rest of your butter in a pan and cook it on the hob until it starts to go golden brown.
• Place your pan to one side and squeeze in the other half of your lemon, add your capers and cucumber too. Leave it all to rest for one minute on the side this will help to soak in all the flavours.
• Halfway through the cooking time for your fish check on it to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan. Grab a spoon and take some of the juice and pour it over the fish – yum!
• During the last two minutes of cooking it’s best to do a little check on the fish to ensure it has cooked properly. Where the first fillet meets the head press down on your fish – if it’s springy be sure to pop it back in the oven for just a little longer. If this bit gets you rather baffled then just grab a knife and (in the same place as described above) pop it in. If it comes out piping hot, you’ll know you’re good to go! If it’s just warm, place the dish back in the oven for a little longer.
• Place the fish on a wooden board (if you’re sharing) or on a rather large plate for one. Surround with your potatoes and a bit of salad and lemon if you wish.
• We find this is best enjoyed with a large glass of white wine, oh and just a touch of sunshine.
Enjoy the medley of flavours and aromas. Happy cooking! X