Sea bass has a delicate texture and flavor. It's in high demand for restaurants as well as home cooking.
It is rather like a white fleshed salmon.
Any recipe that you find for 'trout' would be ideal or cooking sea bass - and vice versa too!
It's best flavor comes when the fish is at least 1.5 kg (3lbs) and up to 4.5 kg (10lbs) in weight.
Some menus promote whole small fish to serve one person, but they lack flavor and depend very much on the seasonings used in the cooking to give any taste at all.
Simple treatment is best - roasted, grilled or barbecued to make the skin crispy.
Steaming or poaching is better if it's larger to ensure the fish is cooked right through.
At it's simplest, you can fillet the fish off the bone (or ask your fishmonger to do this for you) and brush with olive oil and a twist of black pepper.
Measure the fillets and use the formula of one inch thickness for 10 minutes total cooking time under the grill or on a barbecue, turning and basting frequently.
You'll know it's done when you press the flesh and it's firm - don't burn your finger though, because it will be hot :-)
Alternatively, cook it whole but gutted, pop some rosemary in the cavity and a few lemon slices, brush with oil and pepper and bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes, until the flesh is cooked.
This baked seabass recipe is very simple to prepare.
Get the fishmonger to gut and scale it for you if you don't know how, but watch and learn...
This recipe serves two but could easily be increased for more people.
Sea Bass with Fennel
2 small sea bass
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
fresh basil leaves
12 black olives - stoned and halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200c/180c fan oven, 400f
Rinse and dry the fish and season with pepper.
Stuff the cavity with half the fennel, the lemon slices and basil.
Take a roasting dish and put the rest of the fennel and olives on the bottom.
Put the sea bass on top and then drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the fish is cooked through - press with your finger and if it is fairly solid to the touch, then it is cooked.
Serve immediately with some buttered new potatoes and either a salad or vegetables - broccoli, cabbage, beans, carrots - whatever is in season.
Pour the juices from the roasting dish over just before serving.
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By Liz Alderson
Delicate seabass cooked with fennel and olives.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Main Ingredient: sea bass, fennel, olives