One more week and then all the hysteria at work will come to a head and it’ll all be over. Stupid deadlines. In the meantime, yet another recipe that I’ve been storing for a rainy day. This one satisfies one of my new year’s resolutions: to eat more fish. I don’t take advantage of my local fishmonger enough and to correct this, that day, I stepped in and bought two individual portion-sized sea bass, cleaned and ready to cook.

Sea Bass

Only, of course, I had no idea what to do with them; I’m quite clueless and intimidated when it comes to fish. Growing up, my mother fried fish often but frying and the eventual stink were just not needed in our tiny flat. But I’ve recently realised that the oven is a great place for a fishy to sit before dinner. A look around the BBC Good Food website came up with this recipe of baked sea bass with roasted vegetables though I’ve simplified things a bit. The original had you whizz up half the vegetables with vinegar and nuts to make a romesco sauce but I just incorporated some of the ingredients straight into the roasting tin. It’s easier! And the roasting really improves the flavour of tasteless winter vegetables. Yes, I know we should all be shopping seasonally but sometimes you just need a tomato. And a red pepper.

Baked Sea Bass with Roasted Vegetables

Baked Sea Bass with Roasted Vegetables
adapted from a BBC Good Food magazine recipe.
serves 2.

2 sea bass, of individual portion size, cleaned and left whole
1/2 a lemon, thinly sliced
2 large red peppers
1 large red onion
5 small tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsps olive oil
a handful of toasted hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 220C.

Clean and trim the red peppers and cut into large chunks. Peel and trim the red onion and cut into thin wedges. Cut the tomatoes in half around their equators. Toss all these vegetables and the garlic cloves into a roasting tray and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and 2 tbsps of olive oil. Place in the oven to roast for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Slash the skin of the fish about 3-4 times each side. Stuff the sliced lemon into their cleaned bellies too.

After the first 25 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and sprinkled over 1/2 the thyme onto the vegetables. Lay the fish on top of the roasting vegetables, sprinkle over the remainder of the thyme and then drizzle over the remaining olive oil. Put back in the oven and continue roasting for 20 minutes.

Roughly chop the roasted hazelnuts.

Take out the roasting tray, plate the fish, sprinkle the hazelnuts over the roasted vegetables, and then plate them too alongside the fish. Serve.