by Susan Hanna

If you are looking for something different for dinner on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, consider this whole roasted sea bass from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi. Make a quick sauce and spread cabbage leaves and scallions on a baking sheet. Place the fish on top and sprinkle with ginger. Cover with foil and roast for about 40 minutes. Sprinkle scallions and chili pepper over the fish, pour hot oil over to crisp the skin and serve with the vegetables and sauce.

Serves 4.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Imagine Organic chicken stock, tamari instead of soy sauce, Foreman pure sesame oil and Mitsukan mirin rice wine. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

For the sauce

  • 7 tbsp (100 ml) chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry instead)
  • 3½ tbsp (52.5 ml) light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar

For the fish

  • 1 whole sea bass (about 2 lbs/1 kg and 18 inches/45 cm long), scaled, gutted and rinsed
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 10 scallions, trimmed
  • 1 small medium white cabbage, cut in half, core cut out, and leaves separated one by one
  • 1 ½ -inch (3.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 red chili deseeded and julienned
  • 5 tbsp (75 ml) canola or peanut oil
  • ½ cup (10 g) coriander leaves

Preparation: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C)
  2. Put all the sauce ingredients in a small pan, put on a high heat and, once boiling, cook for a minute, swirling the pan slightly so the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Cut five ¼-inch (0.5 cm) deep and 3 ¼-inch (8-cm) long diagonal slits on both sides of the fish. Sprinkle a teaspoon (5 ml) of salt evenly over one side of the fish and rub in; repeat on the other side with another teaspoon (5 ml) of salt.
  4. Cut eight of the scallions into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths and set aside in a small bowl; finely slice the remaining two onions and set those aside in a separate bowl.
  5. Line a large, high-sided 12-inch x 15-inch (30-cm x 40-cm) baking tray with baking parchment and spread the cabbage and larger scallion pieces on top. Lay the fish diagonally in the tray (this helps give it a bit of extra room), then sprinkle over the ginger. Pour the sauce over the fish and cover the tray tightly with foil.
  6. Roast for 40 minutes, basting twice, until the fish is cooked through. To make sure it’s done, gently insert a knife into one of the slits and check that the flesh comes away from the bones and is no longer transparent. Sprinkle over the reserved finely sliced scallions and the chili, and set aside.
  7. Pour the oil into a small pan and place on a high heat for about two minutes, until it starts to smoke. Very carefully pour this evenly over the fish, so that it starts to crisp the skin and vegetables.
  8. You can serve the fish at the table in its baking tray, or arrange the cabbage leaves and chunks of scallions on a larger platter – you’ll need to pull them out from under the fish – and carefully lift out the fish to sit on top. Pour over the cooking sauce and serve at once, with coriander scattered on top.

From Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi