With the exception of salmon I hadn’t experimented with cooking fish before. But when my local Co-op started stocking sea bass which was frequently on reduced due to seemingly no one in my local town knowing what to do with it, I decided to broaden my horizons. I just needed to find the perfect, diet-friendly recipe and Justine Pattison’s baked sea bass with peppers and pine nuts has become a big hit in my household.
You can pay good money to eat sea bass in a restaurant but this brilliant dish from Justine can be rustled up for less than £2 per serving and under 300 calories. Genius! Please note, the recommended serving size is 150g per sea bass fillet. You’ll be able to get that from a fishmonger. However, if buying from a supermarket most packs of sea bass have a weight of 180g, so you can get away with having two bass fillets without feeling guilty!
My mediocre photography and presentation skills fail to do this recipe justice. If you’re looking to introduce more fish into your diet then give this a try. You’ll love it.
Recipe: Baked sea bass with peppers and pine nuts
Calories: 287 calories per serving
Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – Comfort Food
Prep time: Approx 20 mins
Cooking time: Approx 15 mins
Ingredients: 4 sea bass fillets (each around 150g), 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, ground black pepper
For the stuffing: 25g pine nuts, 6 spring onions (thinly sliced), 1 garlic clove (thinly sliced), 20 basil leaves (roughly 10g – shredded), finely grated zest of ½ lemon, 50g dried coarse white breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs) 170g roasted peppers in oil from a jar (drained well in a sieve), pinch of flaked sea salt, ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £1.67
Method: To make the stuffing, first toast the pine nuts in a large non-stick frying pan for 3–4 minutes, turning regularly or until lightly browned. Tip them into a large bowl and add the spring onions, garlic, basil, lemon zest and breadcrumbs.
Put the peppers on a board and chop them into roughly 2cm pieces, if not already chopped. Add to the pine nut mixture, season with a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper and stir well. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan200°C/Gas 7.
Slash each fish fillet 3-4 times with a knife through the skin. Spoon the pepper mixture onto a large baking tray in four piles and spread until roughly the size of a sea bass fillet.
Place a fish fillet on top of each pile of stuffing and tuck any loose bits of stuffing underneath so it doesn’t burn. Drizzle the fish with the lemon juice and the olive oil. Season with black pepper and bake for 15 minutes or until the fish is lightly browned and cooked through and the stuffing is hot. The fish is cooked when the flesh feels soft when pressed with your finger towards the head – the thickest part.