Bass with Rose Harissa – submitted by Leakyboots 30/4/2015
For four people:
1.5 lbs new potatoes (or more if you’re piggy)
2 tablespoons rose harissa
4 tablespoons olive oil
About a dozen spring onions, trimmed
4 chunky bass fillets
1 teaspoon salt
Slice the potatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Mix the rose harissa with the olive oil, and add about a teaspoon of salt. Use half of the harissa/oil mix to coat the potatoes and the spring onions. Cook these in a shallow baking dish for about 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees (keep going till the spuds are tender).
Make slashes in the skins of the bass fillets, and rub the fillets with the remaining harissa/oil mix.
Lay the fillets, skin-side up, on top of the spuds, and cook under a hot grill for 8-10 minutes — until the flesh of the fish is cooked, and the skin is a bit charred and crunchy.
Serve with wedges of lemon if you want to look posh.
Bass with potato and anchovy hats – submitted by Leakyboots 25/2/2015
This works best with fillets from a decent sized bass, say a three pounder. Skin the fillets, and cut each in half to make four portions. Take five or six large unpeeled new potatoes, and slice them as thinly as possible, about a sixteenth of an inch thick. (I use a box grater from the supermarket, but a mandolin might be easier and lead to less bleeding knuckles and blue language.) Season the fillets with salt and black pepper, and lay them on an oiled non-stick baking tray. Smush up a small tin of anchovies and mix them into the potato slices. Sprinkle a pinch of thyme into the potatoes as well (dried thyme is fine), add a good pinch of black pepper, and enough olive oil to make them look shiny. Don’t salt the potatoes, the anchovies take care of that. Now use the potato slices to make hats over each of the fish fillets. The hats should cover the fillets well, and come out a wee bit around the edges as well; and they should be four or five slices thick. Cook in a hot oven (about a hundred and ninety degrees) for roughly thirty minutes. The potatoes should look almost like crisps – brown and crunchy.
Sea Bass Ceviche – submitted by Leakyboots 25/2/2015
This is yummy stuff, and I was surprised (and very well chuffed) to find that it works with fillets from the deep-freeze; but fresh bass has a slight edge. To make a starter for four people, you need a bass of about two pounds, filleted and skinned. Cut the fillets into slices about an eighth of an inch thick. Put them in a bowl, then chop two celery stalks to about the same thickness, and dump that on top of the bass.
In a different container, mix this lot: one garlic clove, chopped wee small or grated; about a tablespoon of onion or scallion, also finely chopped; two medium chillies, finely sliced (it looks good if they are of different colours); a handful of fresh coriander, mostly stalks, chopped finely; a teaspoon of salt; a teaspoon of sugar; the juice of one medium orange and the juice of four limes. Pour the mixture over the celery and fish, and let it sit for between twenty-five and thirty-five minutes – until the fish turns opaque. Don’t leave it too long, or the fish will fall apart, leaving you with a bowl of slush. Drain in a colander and serve – either with sliced avocado, or with bread and tomatoes. I like a wee drizzle of good olive oil over the fish as well, and a few fresh coriander leaves, but these aren’t essential.
Submitted by Matt 6/7/2010
There are a couple of things to know before you start cooking that can really improve your eating experience.
Bass caught off rocks or on surf beaches tend to be a lot cleaner and are less likely to taste a little muddy – these are the ones I generally eat when I catch them.
Secondly bass have pretty big scales that generally need to be removed before cooking, especially if you intend on eating the skin. In my opinion the skin, when crispy, is the best bit so it’s well worth putting in the preparation time. To de-scale the fish just hold the tail of the fish (it’s a lot easier if the fish is whole) and scrape the blade of your filleting knife away from you towards the head. This can get a bit messy though so it’s best to do it in the sink. As with any knife work, whether de-scaling or filleting please be careful as one slip and you could easily lose a digit or two. Slicing away from your body is a good and safe practice to get into.
As for the recipes, here are 3 of my favourites, all are pretty simple but packed with great flavours. As ever the only rule is to make sure the fish is really fresh – cooked on the same day or at the latest the day after being caught if possible.
Pan-fried bass with salsa verde – this is a great summer dish served with simply buttered Cornish new potatoes and fresh salad or vegetables. A nice white wine or ice cold beer is the perfect accompaniment.
- Sea-bass fillets
- Olive oil
- Knob of butter
- Handful of fresh parsley
- Handful of fresh basil
- Handful of fresh Mint
- 1 clove of garlic
- Handful of Capers
- Handful of Gherkins
- Half a dozen anchovy fillets
- Splash of red wine vinegar
- Salt & pepper
- Finely chop all the herbs, garlic, capers, gherkins and anchovies. Loosen the paste with a little of the vinegar and a generous splash of olive oil. Season to taste but be careful with the salt as the capers can be quite salty themselves, especially if they have been preserved in brine.
- Heat a non stick frying pan with some oil, lay the fillets skin side down and cook until crisp and nutty brown in colour, adding the knob of butter half way through.
- Turn over and finish cooking; the total cooking time should be around 5 to 6 minutes, depending on fillet size.
- Remove the fillets from the pan and lay on kitchen paper to remove any excess grease.
Baked sea-bass with lemon and fennel – the fish steams in its own juices and the flesh almost falls off the bone – I like chips and a lemon mayonnaise to go with this.
- Whole sea-bass
- Sliced fennel bulb
- 1 lemon
- Splash of white wine
- A little water
- Stuff the cavity of the fish with the fennel and the lemon and place in the bottom of a roasting tin, pour in the splash of wine and the water and then seal the tin tightly with foil. (You can wrap the fish itself in foil but leave some space in the parcel to allow the steam to circulate)
- Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Sea-bass with frizzled chillies, ginger & spring onions – the smells that will come from cooking this dish will blow you away!
- Sea-bass fillets
- 3cm piece root ginger
- 6 spring onions
- 2 red chillies
- 2 tbsp oil for frying
- 2 garlic cloves , finely slice
- 2 tbsp spiced black rice vinegar or 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- A handful coriander , leaves roughly chopped
- Shred the ginger, spring onions and red chilli finely. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok, and when it is very hot, fry the ginger, spring onions and chilli in turn until they frizzle up. They should hiss and spit. Scoop them out the second they’re done. Fry the garlic for a few seconds until it is light brown then scoop out.
- Tip out all but a dribble of oil and add the sea bass skin-side down for about 4-6 minutes. Press them into the wok so they don’t curl up, the skin should crisp and brown quickly and the fillets cook through. Turn them over if you need to.
- Serve the fillets with the frizzled chillies, ginger and spring onions on top, drizzle over the vinegar and sesame oil and sprinkle over the coriander.