Pan-fried bass with spiced parsnip, crispy parsnips and crispy seaweed

Serves 4 Starters and mains

Links220621 007 Pan Fried Bass Spiced Parsnip Crispy Parsnips Soy Brown Butter



  • 1 bass, bream, or mackerel (1.5–2kg) gutted, descaled, filleted and pin-boned
  • 2tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

For the spiced parsnip

  • 3 large parsnips (300g cooked weight), unpeeled
  • 2tsp ground cumin
  • 2tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 150ml double cream dash milk, if needed

For the dressing

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 4tbsp soy sauce
  • 31⁄2tbsp lime juice

For the crispy parsnips and seaweed

  • oil, to deep-fry
  • 2 parsnips, peeled
  • 1tsp fine sea salt
  • 2tsp ground cumin
  • 2tsp ground coriander
  • 3 sushi nori sheets

To garnish

  • 3tsp sesame seeds
  • zest 1 lime


Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C F/Gas 6. For the spiced parsnips, put the 3 large parsnips in an ovenproof dish and roast in the oven for 45 minutes-1 hour until cooked through and tender.

Meanwhile to make the dressing, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat until
it starts to smell nutty and go brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring off the brown butter into another pan, leaving the sediment behind. Stir the soy sauce into the brown butter and keep warm.

To make the crispy parsnips, heat the oil for frying in a deep- fat fryer or other suitable pan to 180C. Slice the 2 parsnips lengthways using a mandoline and slice across these with a knife to make matchsticks. When the oil is hot enough, carefully fry the matchsticks in batches until golden all over. Drain each batch with a slotted spoon over a tray covered with absorbent kitchen paper, and season well with salt and spices, reserving some to season the nori. Continue this process
until all the parsnips are fried. Set aside, changing the paper
if it becomes too oily.

Cut the nori into 1cm-thick strips using scissors, then deep-fry for 2 minutes and drain and season in the same way as the parsnips.

When the parsnips in the oven are cooked, remove but keep the oven on. Cut them in half lengthways and scoop out the cooked flesh into a food processor. Add the spices, salt and cream and blend until smooth. Add some milk if it seems too thick – you are looking for a thick, custard-like consistency. When the spiced parsnip is smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning but be careful with the salt as the soy sauce in the dressing will also add saltiness. Keep warm.

To prepare the garnish, add the sesame seeds to a frying pan and toast gently over a medium heat. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan.

Dry the bass skin off thoroughly, to ensure it will be crisp when cooked and season the fillets all over with salt.

Turn the oven up to 220C/ 200C F/Gas 7. Put a large, non-stick, ovenproof pan with a handle, or a seasoned iron pan, over a medium-to-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and lay the fish, skin-side down in it – you may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan. Gently fry the fish fillets for 3 minutes until the edges start to turn golden, then slide the pan into the oven and cook for 4 minutes.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven and turn the fish over. The residual heat will finish the cooking.

To serve, divide the spiced parsnip among 4 warm plates and place the fish on top. Add the lime to the dressing and warm slightly, then drizzle over the fish. Finish with the crispy parsnip, crispy seaweed, toasted sesame seeds and grated lime zest and serve immediately.

Recipe by Nathan Outlaw
Links220621 007 Pan Fried Bass Spiced Parsnip Crispy Parsnips Soy Brown Butter
Recipe by Nathan Outlaw


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