Grilled Sea Bass Fillets with Fennel and Cavolo Nero with Saumur Blanc La Cabriole
An ideal, no fuss, yet elegant, summer lunch. A whole fish is the ultimate grand gesture, but a fillet is so much more accessible to prepare and eat. This is sooo light, carb free and will appeal to those calorie counting, fashionable fasting types.
Why Cavolo Nero? Well there’s no getting away from it, the Italians have nicer cabbage. There is something about the depth of flavour and structure of ‘Cav. N’ which is the antithesis of our sad, soggy, school dinner staple. It tastes as if it’s doing you good - which of course it is. You feel so righteous after this dish that it’s almost de rig to follow it with a heavy pudding. A baked custard perhaps…oops.
6 fillets of Sea Bass (2-3.5kg sea bass)
Generous slugs of extra virgin olive oil
6 sprigs of rosemary
2 bulbs of Fennel
500g Cavalo Nero
4/6 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
It’s a good idea to have an attractive, ceramic, roasting dish - which you wouldn't be ashamed to put on the table – to serve straight from the oven. Lightly oil the base of the roasting dish and lay out the fillets skin side down. Trim the fennel bases but avoid slicing the fennel heads too harshly, then cut into relatively thin wedges and lay the fennel around the fillets. Top with a sprig of rosemary on each fillet and drizzle with oil. Season generously, then place into the hottest oven you can for 10 minutes. The fennel should be coloured and softened but still have crunch.
Meanwhile prepare the Cavolo Nero. Simply warm the sliced garlic gently in a slug of olive oil for 1 minute on a medium heat– DO NOT BURN! Dunk the Cavolo Nero leaves into the pan - do not slice or prep in anyway other than possibly trimming tough ends off – as you want the structure and elegance of the whole leaf. Sprinkle a little spoonful of water over the top, put on a lid and let it soften and ‘braise’ for 8 – 10 minutes so that the colour remains dark. After about 8 mins I pull out one leaf to taste. Season generously with salt and pepper, add a generous squeeze of lemon, another drizzle of olive oil if so desired then just place the glorious leaves onto the plates with the fillets.