I’ve a great local fishmonger in Ealing, which is where I now get all my fish. It’s T H Carr based on Pitshanger Lane and is exactly what you expect from a traditional fishmonger. It has a haggard-looking shop sign, practical/haphazard décor and friendly staff (that’s not to say that the fish isn’t laid out beautifully).
In today’s culture it’s a bit odd to be best mates with your fishmonger, but with one white-haired gent, one middle-aged bloke and a young lad who’s getting trained-up it feels like the kind of family business I’d like to support and get to know.
I’m told they get fresh fish from Billingsgate every day, so you can always be assured of quality and freshness. They’re also happy to help with suggestions and ideas on how to prepare and cook your fish
This weekend I fancied a bit of sea bass, so me and the other half popped into T H Carr during the weekly shop. Two sea bass were pretty bargainous at £8.80 per kilo so we had two of those and some tuna and salmon for making sushi.
The recipe was a bit of a make it up as I went, but based on a few things I’ve tried before. My preferred way of cooking whole fish is baking in the oven in parcels, so I made a fragrant mixture to cook it in with a hot chilli and some ginger and other bits. Baking makes it easy to get a lot of flavour in the flesh of the fish, as you’re keeping both the fish’s juices and your chosen flavours in a closed system. Bunging it in a parcel and steaming it in the oven for 30 mins couldn’t be easier. So here it is:
1. Make the flavouring with the following
- 1 3 inch long hot chili
- ½ tsp of lemongrass (I used it from a jar with sunflower oil see bartspices.com)
- Juice of half a lime
- Zest of whole lime
- 1.5 square inch of ginger
- Splash of extra virgin olive oil
2. Clean the fish and place on large piece of foil with a small knob of butter to help lubrication
3. Put the flavouring in and around the fish and then make the foil into a tight package with a little air at the top to allow the fish to steam
4. Bake the fish in a hot oven (gas mk 7-8) for 30 mins
5. Serve with vegetables
Hopefully you’ll find the fish comes out with a very gentle flavour of what you’ve included. I prefer not to eat the flavouring itself because it detracts from the nice taste of the flavoured fish, but obviously personal choice.
If you have a good sea bass recipe you’d recommend, please leave a note or email me.