Oh Gordon. I don’t quite know how to put into words how much I love your recipes. If I really spilled the beans and professed my love of your food it might seem to a non food lover that there’s a bit of stalking going on. But really, I just trust you. I trust your palette, I trust your training, and I trust your instruction. Everything I have made so far from your plethora of recipes has been delicious.
Minus the time I broke the blender trying to make one of your sauces. But that’s a story for another day.
This recipe – Sea Bass with Sweet Chile Sauce – went well (with one small hiccup) and is now a personal favorite.
The recipe actually calls for red mullet as the fish but if you’re unable to find red mullet he suggests bass, which is what we went with.
- 4 red mullet fillets, about 150g each, descaled
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 lime
FOR THE CRUST
- 150g skinned peanuts
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- Small handful of cilantro, leaves chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Dash of fish sauce
FOR THE SWEET CHILI SAUCE
- 2 red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
- Handful of cilantro, leaves chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
First make the sweet chili sauce. Place the chilies in a mortar with the garlic, salt and sugar. Pound until smooth. Add the fish sauce, rice vinegar and olive oil, and mix with a spoon. Stir in the spring onions, cilantro leaves and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar if necessary. Pour into a serving bowl.
To make a crust for the fish, place the peanuts, chili flakes and a good pinch of salt in a mortar. Pound until they look finely chopped but not powdered.
Then mix in the cilantro leaves. Scatter onto a plate or into a shallow bowl, and place the beaten eggs on a separate plate or in a shallow bowl. Season the eggs with a dash of fish sauce and a pinch of salt.
Dip the fish skin side down into the egg. Shake off any excess egg wash, then dip into the peanut mix, coating the skin with a layer of peanuts. Repeat until all the fillets are coated on one side.
Side note – we royally screwed up the crust. I don’t know if it was the eggs we used, or if our peanuts weren’t crushed enough, but it would just not stay on. We instead just cooked the peanuts with the fish, which worked out surprisingly well. But next time I will master the coating!
Add a little oil to a hot frying pan and fry the seasoned fillets over a medium heat, crust side down, for 2–3 minutes until the crust is golden and the fish half cooked.
crust everywhere but on the fish – oops
Turn and cook for further 1–2 minutes, basting as you cook. Remove from the heat and finish with a fresh squeeze of lime juice over each fillet.
Spoon the chili sauce over the fish to serve.
Gorgeous and DELICIOUS despite our mess up
Here’s a video of Gordon Ramsay preparing the dish (he of course makes it all look SO easy – why would anyone have problems with the crust?):
I’ll say one thing – when he makes it everything just looks so lush. I know he has perfect lighting and the best of tools but it really is disturbing how his video looks and how our kitchen looked when we made it. Peanuts and cilantro EVERYWHERE.
Regardless of our crust mishap, it was a perfect fish dish. Light, flavorful, gorgeous, and, despite appearances, super easy to make. If you like Asian flavors and need a new fish dish in the rotation, this one is definitely one you should try.