Pan fried sea bass is a great way to serve this fish and as with many pan fried fillets it always seems to work well on a bed of crushed new potatoes flavoured with parsley, thyme or mint. A powerful sauce is advisable here so this one is accompanied with a piquant sauce of tomato and chili sauce, and a side of fine green beans. An olive oil vinaigrette would also be a nice addition.
With the panfrying of the sea bass comes a requirement almost to produce fabulous crispy skin. It’s also easier to manage because you can tell when the flesh becomes delicate and flaky. It is the ideal method for cooking a sea bass fillet. The approach we use here is very similar to pan-frying cod.
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Serves 2; Preparation time: 60 minutes to get all the veg. and fish prepped; Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients For The Pan Fried Sea Fish:
- 2 sea bass, filleted, skin on.
- a splash of olive oil
- ground black pepper to taste
Ingredients For the Crushed New Potatoes with Olive Oil Vinaigrette:
- 500g Jersey royals or other new potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter
- 1/2 lemon – juice only
- 100g chives, sliced finely. Leave a few unsliced for the garnish.
- 8 black olives – chop in half and then crushed. Leave one or two aside for the garnish.
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
Ingredients For The Piquant Sauce:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 white or red onion, finely sliced and then chopped up
- ½ – 1 red pepper, sliced and chopped into small chunks
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 10 green olives – chop in half.
- 150g/5½oz small tomatoes, with the skins removed
- ½ tsp dried chili flakes
- a handful of green beans, trimmed – enough for two.
- Begin by cooking the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 15 minutes until completely cooked through. No need to peel these potatoes but some do like these without skins.
- The sauce is then started ahead of time by placing a frying pan or skillet over a medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes to soften the onion.
- Add the tomatoes, red pepper and chilli flakes and continue to cook for five more minutes. Use a potato masher to break up the pieces and mix them all together. It only needs to be roughly done. Set aside in a covered saucepan for reheating later.
- Splash the frying pan or skillet with some olive oil. Start heating on a medium level.
- Once the pan is hot, season the sea bass with salt and place it in the pan skin-side down, if the skin has been left on the fish.
- Cook for 2 to3 minutes until the skin is starting to brown and turn golden and crisp. If you are cooking skinless sea bass, cook until the fish has turned a nice golden colour.
- With the potatoes, drain and tip into a bowl, and crush with the olive oil until broken but not mashed. Stir through the chives, lemon juice and the parsley with the crushed olives, then season to taste.
- Warm the sauce in a sauce pan over a low heat but do not boil.
- To a separate pan of boiling water, add the green beans and boil for a few minutes until just tender. As these are cooking, return to the cod.
- Carefully turn the cod over and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet or loin. The fish is cooked when the flesh becomes opaque. It should also flake well when plated up.
- On a plate, add a couple of spoonfuls of crushed potato to form a bed then place a fillet or two on top.
- Add the sauce either over the top or to the side of the fish.
- Serve with a side of trimmed green beans, any remaining black olives and few strands of unchopped chives if you have them as a garnish. Have some freshly made olive oil vinaigrette available too if desired.