less than 30 mins
10 to 30 mins
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By Matt Tebbutt
From Saturday Kitchen[row]
For the sea bass
- 300g/10½oz wild sea bass fillet, skin on
- plain flour, for dusting
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the basil butter sauce
- 100ml/3½fl oz vermouth
- 1–2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 banana shallot, finely diced
- 200g/7oz salted butter, diced and chilled
- 10g/⅓oz basil, leaves picked and chiffonaded
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the crisp courgettes, cockles and baby squid
- oil, for deep frying
- 25g/1oz cornflour
- 25g/1oz plain flour
- ½ courgette, finely shredded
- 50ml/2fl oz full-fat milk
- 1 small handful shelled cockles
- 1 small handful chipirones (tiny whole baby squid), cleaned and prepared
- 1 lemon, juice only
- few sprigs monk’s beard
To make the sea bass, slit the skin several times and dust lightly in flour. Fry the sea bass skin-side down for 6–8 minutes, until almost cooked. Flip over and finish on the other side for a minute or so until cooked through. Leave to rest.
To make the basil butter sauce, place the vermouth, vinegar and shallot in a small saucepan. Cook until reduced, with just a tablespoon of liquid left. Keep the sauce over a very low heat and whisk in the cold butter cube by cube until all the butter has been emulsified into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and add the basil. Keep the sauce warm whilst you make the rest of the dish.
To make the deep-fried topping, preheat a deep fat fryer to 180C. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Combine the cornflour and flour, season with salt and pepper and split between two wide bowls. Toss the courgette in the milk, then toss in half the seasoned flour. Toss the cockles and squid in the rest of the seasoned flour. Deep fry in batches for a minute or two until crisp. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain then season with salt and pepper and squeeze over a few drops of lemon juice.
Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Season the water, then blanch the monks’ beard for 1–2 minutes. Refresh in cold water and set aside until ready to serve.
To serve, place the sea bass on two plates, spoon the sauce around the fish and pile over the deep-fried topping. Garnish with the monk’s beard and serve.