- 1kg frozen whole bass defrosted, probably get 3 or 4, with heads off but check they are scaled
- 4 tbps olive oil
- The Sauce
- 400mls red wine, Shiraz is perfect for this
- 4 level tsp unrefined sugar
- 300mls strong fish stock
- ½ 10g fish stock cube
- 25g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp double cream, optional
- The Veg
- 4-5 tbsp olive oil
- Ears from two fresh sweetcorn, cut away with a knife or frozen will do
- 2 small red onions, very finely sliced, not chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
Pre heat the oven to 220C gas 7.
Place the wine, sugar, stock, stock cube, salt, and five spice into a stainless steel or ceramic pan.
Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for about 10 minutes until you end up with roughly a quarter the original volume. Add the cold butter and whisk gently.
The sauce will now have thickened nicely and have a wonderful gloss and shine, add the cream if you want to at this point.
Place the olive oil into a large wok and heat.
Add the sweetcorn sauté until they start to pop and take colour.
Add the red onion and soften for a minute or so in the hot oil.
Add the sweet potato cubes and stock.
Season well with salt and pepper, then turn the heat right down.
Cover with a lid. Most large saucepan lids will not fit into a wok. Don’t worry too much, just so it covers the food. You can use tin foil if you prefer. I do this just to trap some of the steam that is released when the sweet potatoes, this cooks them slightly quicker, and keeps them moist. They will probably cook in 10 minutes or so.
Whilst they are cooking, cut off the fins from the bass with a pair of scissors.
With a sharp knife, score the fish one way right down the length of the fish, just under the skin nice and neatly. The do the same from a different angle, so you end up with a diamond effect.
Place into a baking tray large enough to take the whole fish. Non stick is better if you own one.
Drizzle over a little olive oil and season really well with salt and pepper.
Place the tray into the hot, pre heated oven, and bake for about 20 minutes.
After about 20 minutes, check the potatoes, with a knife, they should be nice and soft and will have lovely aroma. If cooked remove from the stove, re season. Keep warm.
Check the bass, that should be perfect. To test, get two forks, and gently pull the flesh apart. The flakes should just fall apart, with a little resistance, but not be overcooked.
If the fish is not coked then return to the oven for a further 5-6 minutes.
Once cooked cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Spoon the sweet potatoes around the outside of the fish, and spoon over all the red wine dressing.
Then take the whole tray to the table, and let everyone help themselves.
The only addition a crisp green salad, with plenty of cucumber, cress, watercress, spring onion, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.