Grilled Sea Bass with Parsley Salad

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Keep it Simple

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1993

  • About

Simple food does not always mean it is easy to prepare. There are techniques involved with this Japanese style of grilling which you will need to approach with care. Note the word 'care' and not 'trepidation'.

Sea bass has enjoyed a growing vogue in recent years and is one of the few bony fish people in Britain and the USA have embraced enthusiastically. Chinese restaurants were the first to popularize it typically steaming the fish with ginger and spring onion.

As you will be paying a lot of money for your sea bass, insist that your fishmonger scales and cleans them for you and trims off the dorsal spikes. (These are, incidentally, poisonous. Get one of those under your skin and it will hurt) You will need 350 g/¾ lb of whole fish for each person. However, do not attempt to grill a fish larger than 900 g/2lb in weight as while cooking the thickness of the flesh around the spinal bone the outside will overcook and dry out.

You may like to try the salt-grilling technique with mackerel first as it is a fraction of the cost of sea bass and works just as well.

You can use either a heavy ridged iron griddle, as in the restaurant, or a Hibachi-style barbecue, which works perfectly because you don't want the temperature too high. A domestic grill will also deliver good results so long as you set the pan about 10cm / 4 in away from the heat source, or as far as your stove configuration allows. The timing is the same in all cases.

The parsley salad is taken from Gay Bilson of Berowra Waters restaurant in New South Wales. If any dish represents my 'melting pot' approach it is this. You will need one really large bunch of flat leaf parsley - different shops call it different things: Cyprus, Italian, Chinese, Egyptian. Do not try to substitute English or French curly parsley.