Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pan Fried Fillet of Sea Bass with Buttered New Potatoes and Broccoli

Sea bass is a delicious eating fish but it can be fairly expensive. This means that it is doubly important to know how to cook sea bass in order to get the best value from your purchase. This way of cooking fillet of sea bass could not really be much simpler but it really brings out the natural flavours in the fish and is a perfect way of enjoying sea bass to the full.

The potatoes used in this recipe are new season Ayrshire potatoes from the West of Scotland. The potato varieties available will of course vary hugely by geographical location but you are essentially looking for small, new, salad potatoes.

Ingredients per Serving

1 fillet of fresh sea bass (skin on)
5 to 7 small new potatoes
1/2 small head of broccoli
5 or 6 fresh mint leaves
1oz unsalted butter for frying
1/2oz unsalted butter for potatoes
1 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wedge of lemon to garnish


The first step is to get your potatoes on to boil. I would normally cook small salad potatoes whole and unpeeled. These particular potatoes were just a little bit on the large side, however, so although I didn't peel them, I did cut them in half. Be sure to add them to cold water and not hot, which should be seasoned lightly with salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for twenty-five to thirty minutes until soft.

It was many years ago that I first heard it said that vegetables which grow below the ground should be started cooking in cold water, while those which grow above the ground should be started in boiling water. I have always found this a good rule to cook by and therefore the broccoli florets are added to a pot before a little salt and boiling water are added to fully cover them. The broccoli is simmered for seven to eight minutes and no longer.

Spoon the flour on to a large dinner plate and season with salt and pepper. Add the ounce of butter to a large, non-stick frying pan and gently melt over a medium heat. Pat the skin side only of the bass fillet in the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess flour and place it skin side down in the frying pan.

A fillet of sea bass such as this will not take long to cook. After a couple of minutes, you should be able to see that it is cooked almost all the way through. Turn the heat down to low and carefully turn the fish to cook for a final minute on the flesh side.

While the sea bass is cooking, the potatoes and broccoli should be drained through colanders. Return the potatoes to the empty pot, add the half ounce of butter and the roughly chopped mint leaves. Gently swirl to ensure even coating.

Plate the sea bass with a fish slice, skin side uppermost. Add the broccoli and potatoes to the plate. Garnish the sea bass fillet with a wedge of lemon and serve immediately.

NB - You will see from the image below that the skin, which should have crisped up nicely during frying, will easily peel away from the fillet with the gentle assistance of a dinner knife. This could even be done prior to service if desired.

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