I am lucky enough to have access to a great fishmonger, and I’m always buying his fresh-caught sea bass. It has a lovely flavour and firm flesh, is an easy fish to work with, and whatever you pair it with it makes an impressive dish to put in front of guests. To prepare it, you need to gut and descale it, remove the fins and cut out the gills – but if you don’t fancy the work your fishmonger will happily do it for you.
This recipe comes courtesy of Gizzi Erskine, and it is perfect. It’s definitely one that I will make again and again, my wife demands it.
RECIPE – serves 2
2 small sea bass
4 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
3 tbsp shao hsing wine or sherry
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 2 limes
1 fresh red chilli, chopped
½ firm mango (green underripe mangoes are great if you can find them), peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp of water
To garnish, a handful of fresh coriander leaves
Using a sharp, serrated knife, make 3 or 4 cuts on each side of the fish.
Put the fish into a bowl, pour 2 tbsp of the fish sauce over it and leave to marinate for 5–10 minutes.
Heat the grill to a high heat.
Put the rest of the fish sauce and all the remaining ingredients, except the cornflour and the coriander, into a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and bring gently to a simmer.
Pour in the cornflour mix and stir until thickened. Cover and keep warm.
Grill the fish for 8 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden on the outside but firm and flaky when pushed in its meatiest part.
Place on a serving platter and pour over the sauce. Finally, sprinkle with the coriander.