Panfried sea bass with samphire

Sea bass is wonderfully versatile, easy to cook and, providing you get it spanking fresh, utterly delicious.  But what of samphire?  This description tells you what you need to know:

Marsh samphire has vibrant green stalks, similar to baby asparagus, with a distinctively crisp and salty taste. It can be used raw in salad, though it tends to be very salty so it is more often boiled or steamed for a few minutes.

Sea asparagus is a perfect description as far as I’m concerned, but the flavour redolent of the sea makes it a delicious accompaniment to fish.  Here, I’ve combined it with other ingredients that work well with fresh fish – fennel, lemon and white wine.


  • Sea bass fillets, one per person
  • Sea salt
  • 1 lemon, skin tested and juiced
  • Fennel, sliced into fine pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • Samphire, washed
  • White wine, semillon blanc is perfect
  • Oil


  • Get your fishmonger to debone the sea bass into meaty fillets.  Allow to reach room temperature and coat lightly with fresh ground sea salt, lemon zest and juice, garlic and fennel.
  • Put oil in a pan, which needs to be hot but not smoking.
  • Cook the sea bass skin side down for 2 minutes, then turn for 1 minute on the flesh side.
  • Take out the sea bass and keep in a warm place for a minute.
  • Add to the pan samphire and stir-fry for a minute.
  • Add wine to deglaze.
  • Add the marinade with lemon and fennel and reduce.
  • Serve the fish topped with samphire and sauce, new potatoes and your veg of choice.

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