Herb roasted sea bass

Serves 6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

For a celebratory occasion such as Christmas a whole stuffed and roasted fish makes a really fabulous table centrepiece. Or if you really want to feast, you could serve it as an old-fashioned fish course before the main. You can scale this recipe down and roast an individual 300-400g fish for just one person. Ask your fishmonger (nicely!) to bone the fish like a kipper which will also allow you to get a bit more stuffing in the fish.

1 sea bass weighing about 2-2.5kg, boned as above
Olive oil for brushing

for the stuffing

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
100g butter
200g fresh white breadcrumbs
2tbsp chopped parsley
2tbsp chopped dill
100-150g cooked shellfish such as crab, lobster, prawns, chopped, or 6 raw oysters, chopped
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 230C/gas mark 8. In a saucepan gently cook the onions and fennel in the butter for 4-5 minutes until soft, but not coloured. Transfer them into a bowl and mix them with the breadcrumbs, parsley, dill and shellfish, and season with salt and pepper.

Open the sea bass flat on to a table and spread the mixture evenly down the middle of one fillet. Fold the other fillet over and shape it so the fish looks whole. Score the skin in 3cm intervals along the top fillet, season with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil.

Transfer on to an oiled baking tray and roast in the oven for 45 minutes, basting with olive oil two or three times during cooking.

Serve with some extra olive oil, or butter spooned over. f