Whether you fish with lures or bait, from boat or shore, the sea bass is a prize catch.
Bass stocks in UK waters are still very poor and the measures currently in force for recreational anglers in 2021 still stand at 2 fish per day subject as always to minimum size.
If you buy your fish from the supermarket or your local fishmonger it will have been cleaned and de-scaled for you. If you caught the fish then you need to clean it yourself, this video shows you how.
Top tip: Use a really sharp knife.
Bass is a firm favourite for the dinner plate and we showcase a couple of top notch recipes which present this fish at its best.
Bass is quite a robust fish for cooking and goes well with other deep flavours. I particularly like the Spanish style of cooking and this recipe combines the fish fillets with capers, olives and peppers. It goes surprisingly well with red wine!
Pan-fried sea bass with Spanish olives and piquillo peppers
- 4 pieces sea bass 150g
- 1 tin piquillo peppers
- 1 handful Spanish caperberries
- 4 cloves garlic
- 100 ml Spanish olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch cracked black pepper
- 1 glass dry Fino wine small
- 1 can black Spanish olives pitted
- 2 flat parsley
- Wash and pat dry your sea bass fillets and put to one side to pan fry later.
- Open the tin of piquillo peppers, cut them in half and remove any seeds.
- Drain the caperberries and olives and put these aside also.
- Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves and onion, then add half of the olive oil to a hot pan and fry over a medium heat until golden brown.
- Add the piquillo peppers and sauté for a further 30 seconds, before adding the purple Spanish olives and caperberries and sauté again.
- Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of Fino wine. Let the alcohol burn and sprinkle a touch of finely chopped parsley into the pan. Taste the seasoning and alter if needed.
- Take a separate non-stick pan and place over a high heat and pour in a touch of Spanish olive oil.
- Score the skin of the sea bass through and then pan fry skin side down until 3/4 done, turn over, season the skin with some salt flakes and cook for one more minute.
- Serve the Spanish olive sauce on to a plate and place the sea bass on the top, drizzle over a touch of olive oil to finish.
Baked whole sea bass is a great dish for sharing. Add some chorizo, new potatoes and 45 minutes in the oven and you have a meal fit for a king.
Baked Whole Sea Bass with Broad Beans and Chorizo
- 10-15 baby new potatoes or Jersey Royals if you can get them, halved if large
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small sea bass gutted, scaled and fins clipped (you can ask your fishmonger to do this)
- zest 1 lemon then sliced
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 140 g chorizo skin removed, sliced
- 75 ml white wine
- 200 g peas defrosted if frozen, blanched if fresh
- 400 g broad beans or 800g in their pods, skinned
- small bunch parsley chopped
- STEP 1
- Put the potatoes in a pan of cold, salted water. Bring to a simmer and bubble for 10 mins, or until just tender. Heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Drain the potatoes, tip into a large roasting tin (big enough to fit the fish), and toss in 1 tbsp oil and some seasoning. Roast for 15 mins.
- STEP 2
- Make a couple of slashes in the side of each fish. Rub the remaining oil, the lemon zest, fennel seeds and some seasoning into the flesh and cavity of the fish. When the potatoes have had their cooking time, remove the tray from the oven, make space in the centre and place the fish on the tray. Poke the lemon slices into the cavities of the fish. Scatter the chorizo over the potatoes and pour over the wine. Return to the oven for a further 15 mins.
- STEP 3
- Check the fish is very nearly cooked – the flesh should pull away from the bones easily when gently pushed with a knife. Scatter the peas and broad beans around the fish, mix through the potatoes and chorizo and return to the oven for 2 mins more, to just warm the veg through. Scatter over the parsley just before serving.
Please observe minimum size limits when fishing.
Use a measure like this one from Tronixpro.
- BBC good food