love fennel. I love sumac. I love sea bass. This will be a short blog post. If you’re new to sumac its commonly found as a pretty pink powder made from berries that are dried and ground and has a lovely tart/sour taste to give a sharp kick. Lovely sprinkled on flavoured yoghurts, in flatbreads, on humus or rubbed lovingly into chicken, vegetables and meats. Controversially it could be a bit pungent for delicate sea bass but its lemony flavour is a lovely match.
Being one of Ottolenghi’s favourite spices…need I say more….
- 1 tbsp fennel seed
- 1/2 tbsp sumac (see here but this can be found in all supermarkets)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 seabass fillet (or sea bream/other white fish fillets)
- Dry toast the fennel seed in a dry hot frying pan until fragrant. Remove from the heat and add to a pestle and mortar. Grind well.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Score the sea bass fillets with a single cut on the skin side to avoid curling while cooking. Then massage the fennel into each fillet and a pinch of the sumac (the remainder of the sumac is best sprinkled on after) with a splash or oil. Leave to rest until needed
- When ready to cook, heat a frying pan on medium high. Fry skin side dow for 2-3 minutes until he flesh side is beginning to turn white.
- Turn and finish the cooking for 30seconds – 1 minute.
- Remove from the pan and sprinkle with the ground sumac and a good wedge of lemon juice!