With the somewhat warmer weather of early spring, my thoughts turn to lighter meals. I spotted some locally caught sea bass at the fishmonger’s and knew this was what I wanted. Turns out sea bass is pretty popular this week (among friends on Facebook), so here’s a recipe with a twist of grown-up flavour: the anise-y delicacy of vegetable fennel.
Serves 4 with leftovers.
|2 pound||Whole sea bass, scaled and gutted|
|a few grains||Sea salt, crushed|
|1 cup||Fennel bulb (save leaf for garnish)|
|1 tablespoon||Ginger root, minced (less if desired)|
|1/2||Lemon (juice only)|
|1/2 cup||Crumbs (I used cereal, with bits of dried fruit)|
|1 tablespoon||Dried tarragon|
- Preheat oven to maximum.
- Lightly grease roasting pan. Cut slits in fish skin. Rub in sea salt. Place fish in pan and set aside while you prepare stuffing.
- Chop fennel fairly small to make one cup. Steam to soften. (I do this in the microwave.)
- Combine steamed fennel with remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
- Stuff the fish, being careful not to overstuff, which can lead to undercooked meat. Cover with foil. Any extra stuffing can be baked separately in a greased ramekin.
- Place in oven. Reduce heat immediately to 425F/220C/gas mark 7.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove foil carefully. Using a fish slice (ideally), carefully lift top half of fish (as far as the gills) off spinal column and transfer to individual plates. Peel backbone away to serve bottom half of fish. (Reserve head and bones for leftovers dishes.)
- Serve, garnished with feathery fennel leaves and your favourite side dishes.