A very generous weekend guest brought me a jar of white truffle cream. What to do with it? I had great fun mentally imagining all the various uses to which it could be put. And then I thought of this…I really can’t think why because it’s not an obvious combination, but it works brilliantly.

A ready meal would take about the same time as this, almost instant, creation. But this is sublime. It is, however, very rich, which is why I use endive, or some bitter salad leaves for the bed for the bass.

Serve with crushed, lemony potatoes – which involve no peeling and hardly any effort.

You can use stone bass instead of sea bass. Stone bass is a farmed fish which grows bigger than a sea bass so that the fillets are thicker, juicier and more luxurious. You can get stone bass from The Fish Society.

 

Recipe for sea bass fillets with truffle cream

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp approximately of white truffle cream or paste – more if you really like the earthy taste – in fact, if it’s a small jar, use the lot.
  • 2 sea bass fillets (about 300g/10 oz), with skin
  • smoked salt, or Maldon salt
  • Indonesian long pepper
  • about 120ml/½ cup dry vermouth (Noilly Prat for choice); I have even used sherry vinegar very successfully to deglaze
  • 1 endive – or you could use some lollo rosso leaves for some bitterness and colour, and some iceberg for a bit of crunch
  • about 1.5”/4 cm of Spanish mild chorizo
  • rapeseed oil for frying
  • small amount of dressing – about 60ml/¼ cup – again I use the sherry vinegar

Method

  1. Shred the endive, or whatever salad leaves you are using, arrange on the side of the plate and drizzle over the dressing.
  2. Chop the chorizo into small pieces.
  3. Warm the rapeseed oil, getting it reasonably hot, and ensure it covers the surface of the pan. Season the sea bass and then fry it, non-skin side down for a couple of minutes, to get it golden.
    Turn the fillets, turn up the heat a little, and fry in hot oil, skin down, for about five minutes – the skin should begin to turn crispy.
  4. Spread the truffle paste over the fillets and season.
  5. Throw over the chopped chorizo – it will crisp up a little.
  6. Lift out the fillets – you will find they come loose of the skin. Leave that in the pan to crisp up, while you arrange the fillets on the plates. When the skin is crisped up, add that too, and salt it with a tactile salt, like Malvern. Remember not everybody likes fish skin!
  7. Reduce the heat and deglaze the pan with the vermouth (or, as I say, I use sherry vinegar very successfully), pour the juices over the fillets.
  8. Serve.

 

This post is dedicated to Melissa Gray, with thanks.

 

sea bass with a truffle cream sauce