Sea bass with chermoula

About this recipe: Sea bass makes an impressive meal, and its delicious flesh is moist, tender and sweet. Here it's stuffed with an exotic Moroccan-style fresh herb and spice mixture called chermoula, then braised on a bed of vegetables.

Maggie Pannell

Ingredients

Serves: 4 

  • 1 whole sea bass, about 1kg, cleaned
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded
  • 40g fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 175g fine green beans, halved
  • 600g floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper), peeled
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 250g baby plum tomatoes
  • 50g stoned black olives
  • 300ml fish stock, hot

Method

Prep:50min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr50min 

  1. Cut 5–6 deep, diagonal slashes in the flesh on each side of the fish. Place it in a wide, non-metallic dish.
  2. Put the garlic, chilli, coriander, paprika, cumin, oil and lemon juice in a food processor and process until blended and finely chopped. Season to taste. Spread about half of this ‘chermoula’ inside the fish and into the slashes. Cover the fish and the remaining chermoula, and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Drop the beans into a pan of boiling water and blanch for 1 minute, then drain and refresh in cold water. Thinly slice the potatoes and spread in a shallow layer with the shallots in a wide, deep ovenproof dish. Scatter over the beans, tomatoes and olives.
  4. Pour the stock over the vegetables and place the fish on top. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 40–50 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  5. Serve the fish with the vegetables, and the reserved chermoula as a sauce.

variations

If you prefer, use 4 small sea bass, about 300g each, or 4 sea bass fillets, about 175g each (or fillets of another firm white fish). Cook the vegetables on their own for 30 minutes, then arrange the small whole fish or fillets on top and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

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