We have been plotting today's lunch all week. It's very simple actually, dependent on a good homemade chicken stock and some decent sea bass. It was, I must concede, perfect. Light but filling. Delicate and straight forward. There is a waft of aniseed from the crushed fennel seeds which nicely off sets the fish. And equally the creaminess of risotto rice juxtaposes the clean fish meat.
Simply, make a risotto starting with celery and shallots. Use lots of butter. Add puréed butternut squash, saffron and good stock. Finish with more butter and Parmesan.
For the fish, it will take about 6 minutes. Make a rub by grinding fennel seeds, red pepper corns and rock salt. Rub this on the skin side of fillets of sea bass. Fry in a non stick pan on a high heat so that the skins become crisp and brittle.
Serve with crisply fried pancetta for a salty injection.
We got our sea bass from Soper's in Nunhead. Just so you know.