“Sea bass is a really special fish that’s packed with flavour.”
– Gino D’Acampo
Liguria is a beautiful place to go fishing and you can catch some of the best fish in northern Italy there. Sea bass is a really special fish that’s packed with flavour and so needs only the simplest cooking, and in this region a popular way to serve it is baked in a salt crust. Here I have cooked the fish with this in mind, serving it with a delicious salty caper sauce.
– 2 sea bass fillets, pin-boned, skin on
– 100g plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 3 tablespoons butter
For the carrots:
– 3 medium carrots
– 2–3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
– 10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
– Pinch of chilli flakes
– 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
For the caper butter sauce:
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
– 50g capers in salt, rinsed and chopped
– 4 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley
– 60g butter
– 1 lemon
Cook the carrots, whole, in a saucepan of boiling water for 6 minutes. Meanwhile, put a
griddle pan on a high heat. Remove the carrots from the pan and plunge into a bowl of iced water. Slice into chunks ½cm thick on the diagonal. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle over the olive oil, a good pinch of salt and toss together.
Carefully put the carrot slices on the hot griddle and allow them to char – once you can see griddle lines, turn them over and cook on the other side. Transfer to a bowl and add the garlic, another drizzle of oil, the mint, chilli flakes and vinegar. Toss together and set aside.
Make 4 diagonal incisions in the skin of each fish fillet then coat them in the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan, and once the butter starts to bubble place the fillets skin-side down in the pan, pushing them down so that they crisp up. Cook for 5–6 minutes then turn over the fillets and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm.
Wipe out the pan, add 3 tablespoons oil and heat on a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute then add the capers and parsley. Add the butter, allow to melt then mix it into the other ingredients. Remove from the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice before giving it a final stir.
Serve the fillets on individual plates with the carrots, and the sauce spooned over the fish.
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