Fillet of sea bass with "Samphi", shrimps and cockles

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Serves 4

On my shrimping expedition to Morecambe Bay it seemed quite natural that the ingredients available there - bass, shrimps, cockles and samphire (or "samphi", as they call it up North) - should be combined in a dish all of their own. This is what British cooking is all about, not just reviving the classics but also marrying together local ingredients.

Although samphire isn't in season at the moment, you could easily substitute it with baby leeks. The brown shrimps can be eaten whole, as their shells are soft; or, if you prefer, you can buy them peeled. They are the same species as the crevettes gris that you will find on French plateaux de fruits de mer.

250-300g cockles
4 sea bass fillet portions, each weighing 150-160g, skin on, scaled and boned
A good knob of butter
3tbsp dry white wine
100g samphire, woody stalks trimmed, or chopped baby leeks
60g cooked shrimps, peeled or whole
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Cockles tend to contain a lot of grit in their ribbed shells, so immerse them in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes and agitate them every so often with your hands to dislodge it. Then rinse under cold running water for 10 minutes and drain.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Season the sea bass fillets, then put them in an ovenproof dish and rub each fillet with butter. Cover with greaseproof paper and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the white wine in a saucepan with the cockles and samphire (or baby leeks), season, cover and cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the cockles are all opened.

Add the shrimps and any cooking liquid from the sea bass and stir well.

To serve, put the sea bass fillets on warmed serving plates and spoon the cockles, shrimps and samphire over, with the cooking liquid.

Comments