Bass

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The Bass family is quite huge, in the UK we are most familiar with the excellent sea bass whilst the Americans enjoy the merits of striped, black and Stone bass to name but a very few.


Bass

Sea bass is an expensive treat; the very best is wild and line-caught and is available from June to December. A round fish, which can grow to some forty inches (100cm) long and weigh up to twenty pounds (9kg) it can be found in most waters across the globe although the demand for sea bass has seen an increase in the production of farmed fish particularly in the Mediterranean.

One of my favourite fish to cook, it responds well to pan-frying, steaming, poaching or baking whole. I like to pan fry sea bass, they are easy to fillet and cook very quickly. The skin is wonderfully good when crisp and offers a nice contrast to the soft flesh. Take the filleted and scaled fish and with a sharp knife slide the blade across the skin removing all of the excess moisture then pat dry with a towel. Pour a small amount of oil into a hot pan and cook the fillets skin-side down until the skin has crisped, take care not to move the pan too much, the heat needs to remain constant before cooking on the flesh side for no more than a couple of minutes.

I avoid pairing sea bass with anything too heavy, light olive oil based sauces work very well as do fennel infused stocks reduced with only a drop of cream or butter. Baked whole the skin can be slashed and stuffed with herbs and garlic and served with a simple salsa verde.

Content and picture Miles Collins

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