Black lava and sea salt-baked sea bass with anchovy and olive dressing, and smashed potatoes

Serves 4 Starters and mains

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For the anchovy and olive dressing

  • 1 x 50g can anchovies in extra virgin olive oil
  • 85g pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • 20g flat-leaf parsley, leaves removed and finely chopped (stems reserved, for the fish)
  • rind 1 lemon, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 fat clove garlic, finely crushed with a little sea salt
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the fish and potato

  • 500g coarse sea salt
  • 6 small brown onions
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 50g black lava salt (available from souschef.co.uk)
  • 1kg wild sea bass, gutted, scaled and head left on (if you wish)
  • 450g Jersey Royal potatoes
  • 500ml chicken, vegetable stock or water (you may need to top up with extra water to cover to cook the potatoes)

Method

Drain the anchovies, retaining the oil, and chop finely. Put them in a processor with the rest of the dressing ingredients and pulse to a rough paste.

Preheat the oven to 210C/ 410F/Gas 7. Mix the coarse white sea salt with a little water (around 1tbsp, until you get the right texture) to make a firm, sand-like mixture. Place a little in the base of a baking dish large enough to take the onions. Peel a little of the papery skin from the onions, cut through the top into a cross and open out a little and sit them on top of the salt so they are steady. Insert a slice of lemon in each one. Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

Fold the black lava salt into the white mixture but don't allow it to turn grey. Add some to the base of an oven dish large enough for the fish to fit snugly. Lightly season the fish cavity and stuff with the reserved parsley stems and the rest of the lemon slices. Place the fish on top of the salt and add the remainder to cover the fish completely. Remove the onions from the oven, or, if they need cooking a little longer, put them back in the oven on a shelf underneath the fish. Bake the fish uncovered for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the Jersey Royals in the stock or water for around 15 minutes until they are just soft. Drain, return to the pan and crush them a little with a wooden spoon.

When cooked, take the fish and onions to the table in their cooking dish and break off the salt covering, carefully taking the fish skin with it. Remove the fish from the bone. Serve on warmed plates with the onions, the dressing and crushed potatoes. Crush over a little cooking salt, to taste.

Food styling and recipes: Linda Tubby. Photograph and prop styling: Angela Dukes
Seabass 0527
Food styling and recipes: Linda Tubby. Photograph and prop styling: Angela Dukes

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