crazy water, tasty sea bass


there has been a lot of eating of very rich and delicious meals in the past few days. as a result my mind has turned to lighter healthier dishes which i can use to balance out some of the excesses in which i’ve indulged.

this recipe, for sea bass poached in a richly-flavoured tomato, garlic, chilli and herb broth, definitely ticks the light, healthy and oh-so-delicious boxes but it also managed to taste special and indulgent on a chilly winter eve. a definite contender for a new year’s eve feast i think…

crazy water* (serves 2)

6 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

4 large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into chunks

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

150ml white wine

150ml water or fish stock

1 teaspoon oregano leaves

1 bay leaf

35ml olive oil

salt & pepper

1 × 600g sea bass, gutted and scaled

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

put all the ingredients, apart from the fish, lemon and chopped parsley, into a pan large enough to hold the whole fish. bring up to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

add the fish to the pan, cover and poach for around 20 minutes until the fish is cooked (i turned my fish over part-way through). remove the fish and keep warm while you remove the parsley stalks and bay leaf. bring the broth back up to the boil and let it reduce by about a quarter. in the meantime, remove the fish from the bone, discarding the skin and bones.

add the chopped parsley and lemon juice to the broth. place in a bowl and top with the pieces of fish and scatter with lemon zest. serve with lovely crusty bread and butter.

* based on the title recipe from diana henry’s crazy water, pickled lemons