Clodagh McKenna's midweek meal: Sea bass with slow-cooked tomato and herb broth
This week, our chef Clodagh McKenna prepares a fresh, pan-fried fish in a zesty tomato broth
I love sea bass - the delicious crispy skin you get from pan-frying it, the slightly oily meat, they way it flakes off the bone and how it melts in the mouth. There are lots of other fish you can use in this recipe besides sea bass - such as hake, sea bream, mackerel, cod or ling.
The most important thing, of course, is that the fish is fresh.
The first thing to check is the smell - it should not smell like fish, but like the sea. Second, the eyes should be bright and clear and, finally, the gills should be bright and red.
The best way to keep your fish as fresh as possible in the fridge is to wrap it tightly in cling film. If you have fillets, place one on top of the other, flesh side in, and wrap them.
The tomato, olive and herb broth is one of the best fish bases I have made. I came up with the recipe just a couple of weeks ago when I took the afternoon off to cook a supper for friends. It's so fresh and full of delicious Mediterranean flavours.
I used good quality tinned organic tomatoes, but if you have some fresh vine or cherry tomatoes, use them instead. A little sprinkle of seaweed would be lovely here too - you can buy packs of dried seaweed in health food stores, and you just rehydrate it in warm water.
This is such a gorgeous healthy supper and all that's needed with it is a glass of delicious pinot noir to create the most perfect autumn evening.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serve with: Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir 2014
6 fillets of sea bass
4 tbsp olive oil
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tin of cherry tomatoes
200ml white wine
600ml fish stock
2 tbsp black olives, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in the celery, shallots and garlic. Leave to simmer for about three minutes then stir in the chopped tomatoes and white wine - allow to simmer for about five minutes. Next, stir in the fish stock and olives. Reduce the heat to low, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Heat a griddle pan or frying pan to a medium heat. Brush the fish on both sides with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the fish on the hot pan and cook for five minutes on each side.
3. Five minutes before the broth is ready to serve, stir in the chopped mint and dill.
4. To serve, spoon the broth on to warmed plates and place the cooked fish fillets on top.