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Grilled Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge
Grilled Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge
British
Main
1.5 hours
Fish
Easy
Serves
4 to 6

This whole sea bass recipe is served with a vibrant sauce vierge, creating a beautifully light and colourful dish full of summery flavours. Chef Oliver Gladwin takes inspiration for this dish from his time living on the Dorset coast: "A bike ride down to the beach with just a worm and a hook on a line, early enough to catch the first light of a summer dawn, can provide the thrill of catching your own wild sea bass. When I lived down in Dorset the best treat on a day off was not to have a lie-in, but to go early morning fishing on Chesil Beach.

Sea bass is an exquisitely textured, sweet-fleshed fish that needs careful treatment in the kitchen. It should be plain baked to just ‘pearly’ in colour and served with very simple accompaniments. For me, a sauce vierge – ‘virgin sauce’ – made from virgin unprocessed oil and delicate baby vegetables, is perfect."

Recipe courtesy of
Ingredients
  • a little rapeseed oil, for brushing
  • 1–1.5kg whole sea bass 

Sauce Vierge

  • 300g broad beans in their pods
  • 300g peas in their pods
  • 150g pomodoro cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 large sprigs of basil, leaves removed and finely shredded
  • 4 large sprigs of chervil, picked into tiny leaves
  • 125ml linseed oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • watercress
  • boiled new potatoes
Method
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Method
  1. First make the sauce vierge. Fill a medium saucepan with boiling water, add the whole broad bean pods and pea pods and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
  2. Pod the broad beans and also remove the husks by squeezing out the small, delicious kernels from inside each one. Pod the peas and put these in a bowl with the bean kernels. Discard the pods and husks.
  3. Add the tomatoes, basil, chervil, linseed oil and lemon juice to the bowl, stir everything gently together and season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with cling film and transfer it to the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavours to develop.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a moderate to high heat. Brush a little oil onto both sides of the sea bass, and then fry it quickly for 1–2 minutes on each side to allow the skin to crisp. Put the whole pan in the oven – if you don’t have an ovenproof pan you can transfer the fish to a roasting tin – and bake for 6–8 minutes.  Serve the sea bass and the sauce vierge as a central sharing dish, garnished with watercress and accompanied by some boiled new potatoes.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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