This is a recipe which would be suited to virtually any type of white fish, or even trout or salmon. Sea bass however has a wonderfully unique flavor and adds a definite tasty twist to the dish which no other fish can truly emulate. When I made a sea bass en croute assembly a few nights prior to preparing this meal, I decided to subsequently share a recipe featuring this most delectable of fish cooked in virtually as simple a way as is possible and to showcase it at what is truly its magnificent best.
Pan fried sea bass fillet on tagliatelle and roast vegetables bed with tomato chutney on toast
The vegetables used in this recipe consisted quite simply of the ones I had available and which were requiring to be used if they were not to go to waste. Other vegetables which would work very well cooked in precisely the same fashion include red onion, bell peppers of any color and eggplant (aubergine).
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 12 small cherry tomatoes (6 for chutney and 6 for roasting)
- 2 large garlic cloves (1 for chutney and 1 for roasting)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil (1 for chutney, 2 for roasting vegetables and 2 for frying fish)
- 1 teaspoon Italian balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- ½ medium to large zucchini (courgette)
- 3 chestnut mushrooms
- 2 small nests dried tagliatelle (or as desired)
- 1 sea bass fillet, skin on
- 2 tablespoons all purpose (plain) flour
- Bottom half of a herb and onion ciabatta bread roll
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil in to a saucepan. Wash and dry six of the tomatoes, pat them dry with kitchen paper and cut them in half. Add them to the pan along with one of the garlic cloves, peeled and grated, and the balsamic vinegar. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Put the pan on to a high heat until the liquid starts to simmer then reduce the heat to cook gently for eight to ten minutes - stirring frequently with a wooden spoon - or until the tomatoes are fully broken down and the liquid is largely evaporated. Set aside to cool.
Start your oven pre-heating to 425F/210C/Gas Mark 7. Wash the mushrooms, zucchini half and remaining six tomatoes and pat carefully dry with kitchen paper. Half the tomatoes, quarter the mushrooms and slice the zucchini in to about half inch semi-circular pieces. Peel and finely slice the second garlic clove.
Put the vegetables in to a roasting tray and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir carefully with a wooden spoon. Cook in the hot oven for thirty minutes, stirring again in a similar way half way through cooking.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Ten minutes before the vegetables are due to come out of the oven, add the tagliatelle and cook on a moderate simmer for eight to ten minutes.
Drain the tagliatelle at your sink through a colander and allow it to steam off and dry out for two or three minutes.
Scatter the flour on a large plate and season with salt and pepper. Pat the sea bass fillet in it on its skin side only and gently shake off the excess.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in to a large frying pan or skillet and bring it up to a fairly high heat. Lay the sea bass fillet in the pan skin side down and season the flesh side with salt and pepper. Leave to fry for around three minutes.
Take the vegetables from the oven and give them a final stir.
Return the tagliatelle to the cooking pot and use a slotted spoon to add the vegetables. Cooking tongs are best used to lift the tagliatelle and combine it with the vegetables.
When you can see that the sea bass fillet is cooked almost all the way through, turn the heat under the pan right down to minimum. Turn the fish on to its flesh side with a fish slice or spatula and allow it one further minute only to complete cooking in this way.
The ciabatta roll half should be put on to toast until just golden.
Tagliatelle and roasted vegetables are arranged on plate as a serving bed for fish
Use your cooking tongs and a slotted spoon to lay the tagliatelle and vegetables across the center of a square plate to form a bed for the fish fillet.
Lift the sea bass on to the pasta and vegetables, plating it skin side up.
To make traditional Italian bruschetta, the toasted roll half would firstly be rubbed with a peeled and crushed garlic clove before being drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. While that could be done in this instance, it is largely unnecessary and won't affect the flavor.
Spoon the cooled tomato chutney on to the toast and cut the whole in half diagonally from one corner to its opposite number. Lay one half either side of the pasta bed on the serving plate.
The skin of the sea bass should be perfectly crisp and very easy to remove. Simply grip it by the tail end and peel it away in one gentle but steady motion. The blunt edge of a knife can be used to assist you in the unlikely event that it should prove necessary.