Fried Sea Bass in Sorrel Salsa Verde

A ‘Salsa Verde’ is simply a green herb sauce with a posh name, usually made with parsley and sometimes a bit of mint, basil or tarragon. Fragrant, salty and sharp, it is a handy thing to have in your repertoire to give a quick bit of oomph to chicken or fish dishes (or anything else you think might benefit). This version, as you might have guessed, uses Common Sorrel in place of the herbs: its sharpness (though lost slightly in cooking) is a perfect partner to the rich flesh of the Sea Bass. 

Serves 2

For the Fish  

  • Two fillets of Sea Bass (or any other fish, really – I prefer it with oily or slightly oily fish. Try it with Black Bream or Mackerel.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 fairly hefty knob of butter

For the Salsa Verde

  • A generous handful of Common Sorrel
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp capers
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 level tsp of English or Dijon mustard
  • A little olive oil
  • Salt and pepper 

Method

  1. First make the salsa verde. Wash the Sorrel in a plastic container. Then, on a chopping board, chop up the Sorrel very finely and do the same with the garlic and capers. Mix everything together then chop through once more (see picture, right).
  2. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and add the lemon, mustard and oil. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, give it all a quick stir, then set aside.
  3. Now cook the fish. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a frying pan large enough to take both fillets of fish. While the oil is heating, season the fish on both sides.
  4. Place the fillets in the hot oil skin side down. You want to get the skin nice and crispy and brown before turning, so leave for about 3 minutes, but do have a quick look underneath the fish with a spatula if you think everything is happening quicker.
  5. When you’re happy with what you see, flip the fish over and cook the other side for one minute.
  6. Throw in the knob of butter and 2-3 heaped teaspoons of the salsa verde. As the butter melts, stir it into the salsa and baste it all over the fish. This stage should take no longer than 1 minute. 
  7. Serve straight away on warmed plates with mash, rice, or bread and butter.

You may have some salsa left over. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and is wonderful stirred into to some yoghurt or creme fraiche to make a sauce that goes well with a pan-roasted chicken breast or grilled pork chop. Alternatively, you could dollop the mixture onto a pizza before putting it in the oven, or even onto sardines on toast. With the latter, flash under the grill quickly to brown before serving.Sardines on Toast with Sorrel Sauce

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