So I definitely got the inspiration for this recipe from watching lockdown cookery programmes on Food Network but as soon as I saw it I was completely inspired. On the cookery programme, the team were in Mallorca with a gigantic fillet of freshly caught sea bass and we are all on lockdown in the UK (I also live in Birmingham so not much chance of a freshly caught sea-bass here). Thankfully, our supermarkets are now back to being 99% fully stocked (still can’t get bread flour!) and fish has been in plentiful supply.
Sea bass is something we do enjoy on a reasonably regular basis but this is by far my favourite meal we have done. In the recipe below, I’ve highlighted that we are relatively big eaters so would routinely have two fillets of seabass as they are small but one fillet is definitely enough for a portion!
The two highlights for me are the salsa and the cooking of the potatoes. The salsa is just PACKED with flavour and the ingredients combined just SING of a mediterranean simmer. I adore pine nuts which give this salad a lovely crunch but you could use toasted flakes almonds instead if you couldn’t get pine nuts. The critical element of the potatoes is cooking them in that jelly stock. Saffron is a luxury ingredient and gives the potatoes a vibrant yellow colour but if you wanted to miss the saffron it won’t make a massive difference. But cooking small cubes of potato in stock absolutely fills them with flavour and makes them extra delicious. We very often cook our potatoes like this- for the flavour and also the speed of cooking!!
Ultimately, this recipe reminds me of fabulous holidays in the Mediterranean sunshine and it’s also nutritious and full of great ingredients. So whilst we can’t go on our holidays, we can still enjoy some beautiful food in the glorious sunshine in our own gardens!
Sea bass with Saffron Potatoes and Tomato Salsa
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
4 Sea-bass fillets (we eat two each but our supermarket fillets are pretty small (weighing 190g for two so up to you if you have 1 each or 2!)
Drizzle of rapeseed oil
Optional: knob of butter
2 medium potatoes
1 Jellied Chicken stock pack
Pinch of saffron
Handful of kale
2 handfuls of spinach
For the tomato salsa:
70ml red wine vinegar
50g pine nuts
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of rapeseed or olive oil
1. Get your salsa prepped first. To a saucepan, add your raisins and red wine vinegar and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. The raisins will go lovely and plump. Leave in the vinegar until cool.
2. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan until evenly golden. Keep an eye on them because they’ll catch and burn. Shake the pan every 10-15 seconds to ensure even colouring throughout.
3. Add to a bowl with the chopped tomatoes and parsley, drizzle with rapeseed oil and mix together. You can add the raisins right at the end.
4. Start your potatoes. Peel your potatoes and slice into thick 2cm slices, then chop into 2cm square chunks.
5. Dissolve your jellies stock in 200ml boiling water and add to a shallow frying pan along with your saffron. Add the potatoes, and top up with more boiling water until the potatoes are just covered with water.
6. Cook on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until soft and tender. The potatoes should absorb the liquid but if it starts to dry up before the potatoes are cooked, add a little more water and cover with a lid if you can.
7. While your potatoes are cooking start your sea-bass. Add a drizzle of oil to a hot pan and a knob of butter (if using). Season the skin side of the seabass with salt and pepper and carefully lay in the pan. Don’t mess with the fish, just let it cook for 4-5 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Season the flesh of the fish, flip the fillets over, turn off the heat and let the fish finish cooking in the residual heat of the pan.
8. Pop your kale and spinach into a frying pan with a splash of water and wilt on a medium heat. Alternatively, pop the greens in a microwaveable bowl, cover with cling film or a plate and microwave for 90 seconds.
9. Finish off your salsa by draining off the vinegar liquid and adding the plumped raisins to the tomato salsa. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve your Sea-bass on a bed of those wilted greens with a pile of saffron potatoes and top with that delicious salsa.