- 1 kg frozen whole bass defrosted, probably get 3 or 4, with heads off but check they are scaled
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 400 ml red wine, Shiraz is perfect for this
- 4 tsp unrefined sugar, level
- 300 ml strong fish stock
- ½ fish stock cube
- 25 g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp double cream, optional
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 ears from two fresh sweetcorn, cut away with a knife or frozen will do
- 2 small red onions, very finely sliced, not chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pre heat the oven to 220C gas 7
- Place the wine, sugar, stock, stock cube, salt, and five-spice into a stainless steel or ceramic pan.
- Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for about 10 minutes until you end up with roughly a quarter of the original volume. Add the cold butter and whisk gently.
- The sauce will be thickened nicely and have a wonderful gloss and shine, add the cream if you want to.
- Place the olive oil into a large wok and heat.
- Add the sweetcorn saute until they start to pop and take colour.
- Add the red onion and soften for a minute or so in the hot oil.
- Add the sweet potato cubes and stock.
- Season well with salt and pepper, then turn the heat right down.
- Cover with a lid. Most large saucepan lids will not fit onto a wok. Don't worry too much, just so that it covers the food. You can use tin foil if you prefer. I do this to trap some of the steam released from the sweet potatoes; this cooks them slightly quicker and keeps them moist. They will probably cook in 10 minutes or so.
- Whilst they are cooking, cut off the fins from the bass with a pair of scissors.
- With a sharp knife, score the fish one way right down the length of the fish, just under the skin nice and neatly. They do the same from a different angle, so you end up with a diamond effect.
- Place into a baking tray large enough to take the whole fish. Non-stick is better if you own one.
- Drizzle over a little olive oil and season really well with salt and pepper.
- Place the tray into the hot, preheated oven, and bake for about 20 minutes.
- After about 20 minutes, check the potatoes with a knife; they should be nice and soft and will have a lovely aroma. When cooked, remove from the stove re-season. Keep warm.
- To check, the bass is cooked. Using two forks, gently pull the flesh apart. The flakes should fall apart, with a little resistance, but not be overcooked.
- If the fish is not cooked, return to the oven for 5-6 minutes.
- Once cooked, cover with foil, leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Spoon the sweet potatoes around the outside of the fish, and spoon over all the red wine dressing.
- Then take the whole tray to the table, and let everyone help themselves.
- The only addition is a crisp green salad, with plenty of cucumber, cress, watercress, spring onion, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.
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