Summer Eating: Baked Seabass Recipe
It is the time of year to be cooking outdoors – what could be nicer than seabass baked over a wood fire and served with Purple Cauliflower, together with Cockles and Samphire foraged from the seashore. Wash this dish down with a glass or two of crisp aromatic Nutbourne Sussex Reserve and you might really think you have gone to heaven.
Ingredients For 4 people
1 x 1.2–1.6kg Wild Seabass
1 Bunch Samphire
1 Bunch Tarragon, leaves off the wood
4 Spring Onions, cut lengthways into thin strands
400g Cockles, washed under cold water
100gm Unsalted Butter, cut into knobs
1 Lemon, zest & juice
1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Purple Cauliflower
Ask your fishmonger to clean the bass but leave it whole to get maximum flavour from the head and bones.
Place a double layer of tinfoil in a baking tray, ready to wrap the fish into a big parcel
Lay the bass in the foil, combine the samphire, tarragon and spring onion and fill the cavity of the fish.
Spread the remaining vegetables around it. Sprinkle over the cockles, then add the butter, lemon and vinegar. Season well with black pepper, but don’t add salt. The samphire and cockles should provide enough of their own seasoning.
Wrap the whole combination into a tightly sealed parcel ready to bake.
Cut the cauliflower into florets and blanch for 4 minutes in lightly salted boiling water. Drain and refresh under the cold tap.
Bake the fish parcel in a hot oven (220°C) for around 15 minutes. We use an outdoor wood fire so our temperature is not really regulated, but you can smell when the fish is cooked. Add the cauliflower to the roasting tin for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Carefully open the parcel within the baking tin – it will have created a delicious seafood butter sauce that all needs saving. Cut tranches from each side of the bass, and serve with the green vegetables, cockles, cauliflower florets, spooning over juice from the tin to finish.
Recipe by Peter Gladwin ©