Main course: Wild Sea Bass

This wonderfully adaptable fish is glazed with a pine nut crust with red wine shallots, parsnip purée and baby turnips (serves four)
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Wild sea bass with a pine nut crust
© Marcus Wareing/Great British Food
Wild sea bass glazed with a pine nut crust with red wine shallots, parsnip purée and baby turnips
* 2 wild sea bass, 400-600g total weight, filleted and skinned
* Olive oil
* Salt and pepper

Pine nut crust
* 100g toasted pine nuts
* 65g softened butter
* 1 tsp chopped chervil
* ½ garlic clove, chopped

Red wine shallots
* 40g long shallots, finely diced
* Olive oil
* 30g caster sugar
* 30ml Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
* 50ml Port
* 100ml red wine

Parsnip purée
* 75g butter
* 3 large parsnips, diced
* 1 tsp mild curry powder
* 50ml double cream

Turnips: 8 or more leafy baby turnips, pinch of caster sugar, sprig of thyme, knob of butter

1. First make the pine nut crust. Roughly chop the pine nuts, then mix very well with all the other ingredients plus a pinch of salt. Place the mixture between the two sheets of baking parchment on a tray and spread out evenly using a rolling pin until about 2mm thick. Place in the freezer. Once frozen, cut the crust to the same size as the sea bass fillets and return to the freezer.

2. Next prepare the red wine shallots. Fry the shallots in a little olive oil until slightly softened, without colouring them. Season with salt, then add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar and reduce until sticky. Add the Port and red wine, and reduce slowly. Before the sauce becomes thick, spoon out a little and reserve, then continue reducing the remainder until quite thick. Set aside.

3. To make the parsnip purée, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. When foaming add the parsnips and season with the curry powder and a little salt. Cook until very soft. If the parsnips look like they are becoming too dark or are sticking to the pan, add a little water from time to time. Add the cream, then purée in a food processor until very smooth. Correct the seasoning and set aside.

4. To prepare the turnips, take off the leaves, wash and reserve. Blanch the turnips in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, then cool in iced water. When cold, peel by rubbing off the skin. Return to the pan, cover well with cold water and add the sugar, thyme and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Pour off most of the cooking liquid, then set aside.

5. When ready to serve, preheat the grill. Season the fish on both sides. Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the fish for one minute on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and place the pine nut crust on top of the fish. Glaze under the grill until an even golden brown.

6. Meanwhile, warm the shallots. Add the butter to the turnips and warm through, then add the reserved turnip leaves and heat until wilted. Heat the parsnip purée in a small non-stick pot.

7. To serve, arrange the parsnip purée and shallots side by side on warm plates. Place the fish on the purée, and the turnips with their leaves around the fish. Drizzle round the reserved red wine sauce and a little olive oil.

Recipe from Great British Food
Over 150 superb recipes from BBC Two's Great British Menu.
Published by Dorling Kindersley (

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