Grilled sea bass with fennel and kale

Grilled sea bass with fennel and kale

Robalo de mar grelhado com funcho e couve galega

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In Lisbon, where you can find amazing-quality sea bass, it’s unusual to serve the fish off the bone, as it is here. This is a wonderful way to show off the robust flavour of the fish, however; ask your fishmonger to butterfly the sea bass (in other words, to scale, gut and bone it, leaving the fillets attached along the top), then get creative with the stuffing. I’ve used fennel and kale here, but you can experiment with chouriço, lemon, piso, coriander, bay leaf, blood sausage – whatever takes your fancy.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 strips lemon, zested, finely chopped
1 whole sea bass, gutted and butterflied
a large handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
200g green kale
a large handful coriander leaves, finely chopped
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

Method

  1. First, make the stuffing. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan over a low heat, add the onion, garlic and fennel and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the chilli and lemon zest and cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and set the stuffing aside in a bowl.
  2. Preheat the grill to high. Make 3 diagonal slashes in the skin on both sides of the fish. Rub half the stuffing into the cavities of the fish, then close it up again. Drizzle the skin with oil and sprinkle half the parsley over it, then season with salt and pepper. Grill for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and crisp. If the skin takes on too much colour before the inside is cooked, cover it with kitchen foil.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the frying pan over a medium heat and add the rest of the stuffing, along with the red wine vinegar. Add the kale and cook for 3–4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rest of the herbs, then serve immediately. I like to take the whole sea bass to the table with the kale spooned on top, along with all the beautiful juices from the pan.
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