Sea Bass

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I’m having a penchant for fish at the moment! Maybe it’s the warm weather (the winds have abaited a little), but I am being drawn to fish counters when out shopping and there is rather a splendid array of specimens from which to choose. Being in close proximity to the southern coast of Portugal, what else would one expect! Fish are easy and relatively quick to prepare for the oven, so on a balmy summer evening, what better meal to feast on.

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Here are my stars of the show – two plump sea bass stuffed with lemon, garlic and dill

Having taken a rest from my restaurant kitchen, I am eating rather more and inevitably the kilos are increasing! It’s enormously tedious, this debt to pleasure! When I was cooking commercially, I didn’t have time to sit down and eat a full meal and I must admit that by the end of service, I didn’t feel like food. My ‘carrot’, at the end of the day, was a glass of chilled wine. I mostly survived on nibbling and tasting the dishes in preparation during the day. Alas, that has all changed for the moment – to the detriment of my hips, ‘tum’ and bum. I am enjoying experimenting with recipes and cooking at home and, inescapably, eating the results – in fact, clearing the plate and often replenishing it. Quel horreur!  Therefore, my intentions are good in selecting fish for dinner, which eaten with a crisp green salad, would be extremely healthy and probably hold the kilos at bay! But, I am weak (I’ve mentioned before that I suffer from a disease called ‘will power deficiency’) and I can’t pass on the potatoes. My particular partiality to potatoes must have its roots somewhere in my Irish ancestry. Locally grown potatoes, which I buy at our village market, are simply irresistible. They ‘taste’ how I want a potato to taste – often creamy with a slight sweetness, not watery and bland like so many of the supermarket offerings.  The potatoes in moderation (like everything in life – huh!) would probably be fine; but I like mine with lashings of good quality butter and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. Those people interested in cautious eating, should not follow my blog!

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Just about cooked!

After 25 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade sealed in foil, plus 5 minutes with the foil unwrapped at 200 degrees centigrade, we had two beautifully baked bass. These fish weighed about one kilo each – the meat just fell off the bone. It served three of us very generously with oodles over for lunch the next day.

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Just look at this succulent meat!

As there are three of us and I had two fish, I served it off the bone with a lemon butter, garlic and dill sauce – new potatoes and carrots. Salad next time …. maybe! Or, perhaps, I’ll start running to the market!!


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