I’ve been inspired by Nathan Outlaw to fry sea bass fillets. What I am after is the crispy skin. Nathan has the advantage of using a prime thick fillet. But for those of us using smaller specimens, we must concentrate on the other main requirement; a dry skin before cooking. Thomas Keller describes scraping the skin with a knife to squeegee-out the moisture, Nathan says dry the fillets in the fridge for half an hour. I do both and it is a success. However, it should be served straight from the pan. I was forced to put a lid on my fish for five minutes and some of the crispness was lost.
I always like to fillet my own fish. Filleting at home provides fresh bones from which to make stock. This in turn, provides a base for a range of sauces for the filleted fish. However, tonight I use the stock to cook pommes Savoyard. I am always trying variations on the theme of gratin potatoes. My Savoyard-based gratin uses fish stock instead of chicken. I take the stock from the pan after 20 minutes whilst it is still light and fresh.
Home filleting is also a bonus for our cat, Ollie. There are always enough pickings after stock-making to fill his bowl.
I highly recommend this recipe – as does Ollie. It’s delicious.