Spiced Sea Bass with Citrus Butter Sauce

There are few foods as versatile and transformative as citrus. In her latest recipe book, food writer Catherine Phipps celebrates the sour and the sweet with delicious dishes – such as this spiced sea bass – that offer the ultimate taste of summer.

The spicing here is fragrant rather than hot and has a vaguely Middle Eastern feel to it, so you could simply serve it with rice or couscous instead of the chickpeas and greens if you prefer.

Serves 4
• 4 sea bass fillets, skin on
• 1tbsp olive oil
• 30g/2tbsp butter
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
• Juice of 1 large orange
• 100ml/7tbsp water
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1tsp flaky sea salt, pounded
• ½tsp ground cardamom
• ¼tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼tsp ground ginger
• ¼tsp ground white pepper
• ¼tsp garlic powder
• ¼tsp ground turmeric

• 350g/12oz spring greens, very finely shredded
• 350g/2½ cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1. Blot the sea bass fillets and lie skin-side down on kitchen paper. Combine all the rub ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the fillets. Press lightly.
2. Before you start frying the fish, cook the spring greens. Wash thoroughly, then put in a large lidded saucepan without shaking off too much water. Cover and heat gently until the greens have wilted down and are just al dente – they should be a fresh, bright green.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the sea bass fillets, skin-side down, and fry for a couple of minutes. Flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Remove from the frying pan and keep warm.
4. Add the butter, garlic, lemon zest and juice and orange juice to the pan. Turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble until you have a glossy, syrupy sauce. Pour into a jug.
5. Deglaze the pan with the water. Add the chickpeas and spring greens and stir to pick up any flavour residue. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Serve the fish with the chickpeas and greens, and the sauce spooned over the top.


Citrus: Recipes that Celebrate the Sour and the Sweet by Catherine Phipps (Quadrille, £20) Photography © Mowie Kay

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