Seared Sea Bass

Seared sea bass, charred and pickled turnip, turnip tops, Malaysian coconut and peanut curry, garlic crisps

Created by City of Glasgow College (2018/19 winners)

Course: Starter

Servings: 4

Student: Alan Coats, Ance Kristone, Andreau Talla

Lecturer: Robbie Phillips

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sea bass
1 whole sea bass (portioned fillets to 4)
100g fresh coriander
50g fresh mint leaves
juice of half a lemon
2 fresh lemongrass
100g coconut milk

Charred turnip
2 young turnip
vegetable oil
salt for seasoning

Pickled turnip
1 young turnip
100ml rice wine vinegar
100ml water
50g sugar
15g salt
50g fresh ginger (ginger juice)

Roasted crushed peanuts
100g raw shelled peanuts
salt to season

Garlic crisps
10 large garlic cloves
100ml milk

Turnip tops
100g turnip tops
50g butter
200ml water

Fish stock
400g fish bones (rinsed and clean of any blood)
parsley stalks
half large white onion (sliced)
black peppercorns
bay leaf
50ml white wine
juice of half a lemon

Curry sauce
50g picked fresh coriander leaves
20g picked fresh mint leaves
1 whole medium white onion (peeled)
6 cloves garlic (peeled)
2 lemongrass (chopped)
40g fresh ginger (peeled)
5g fresh red chilli (deseeded)
10g mild curry
3g ground coriander seed
3g ground cumin
3g turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
50ml vegetable oil
10ml light soy sauce
20ml fish sauce
10g palm sugar
1 can coconut milk
500ml fish stock
75gm peanut butter



  1. Pick coriander and mint leaves, chop lemongrass and juice lemon.
  2. Put lemongrass, mint and coriander in Robocoupe, blitz until smooth paste(may need to add a little water to help bring paste together)
  3. Once blitz into smooth paste, add in coconut milk, lemon juice and season to taste. The marinade should be of a coating consistency.

 Sea bass

  1. Gut, scale and trim fins of the fish
  2. Fillet fish, leave skin-on, portion the fillets into four equal sizes and then score the skin.
  3. Marinade flesh side down without covering the scored skin for 20-30mins.
  4. Lift fish off the marinade, season skin side with salt, sear on a hot pan skin side down first using silicone paper (cooking the fish this way ensures that the fish does not stick to the pan and for better even cooking of the skin)
  5. Using a fish slice, press the fish down to stop it from curling up and ensures even cooking of the skin.
  6. Cook fish three quarters on the way skin side down, once skin is crispy and evenly coloured turn fish and leave to cook all the way from residual heat.

Charred turnip

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (for blanching), and have a griddle pan on heat (for charring).
  2. Trim and wash turnip.
  3. Chop turnip to 1cm thick then using a metal ring cut turnips into uniformed rounds.
  4. Blanch for a minute, refreshed and patted dry.
  5. Lightly brush turnips with oil, season with salt and char on a griddle pan. Do not move for couple of minutes to achieve bar marks. Once charred, turn 180 degrees on the same side to achieve criss-cross grill mark and then do the same to the other side.
  6. Once cooked, bring to the pass to be plated.

Pickled turnip

  1. Bring water and vinegar to a simmer, once simmering add in sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt is dissolved. Leave to cool down until needed.
  2. Peel and grate ginger root using a fine grater.
  3. Squeeze out juice and set aside until needed.
  4. Trim and wash turnip.
  5. Thinly slice turnip using a mandoline into rounds and make a cut halfway across (presentation purposes)
  6. Transfer into a container and pour in pickling liquor. Leave to pickle in the fridge until needed.
  7. Drain of liquor and then pour in ginger juice into the turnip just before plating.

Roasted crushed peanuts

  1. Heat oven to 180°c, season and evenly spread peanuts in a baking tray, roast for 20-25 minutes.
  2. When roasted, crush peanuts in a Robocoupe to coarse texture, set aside until needed for service.

Garlic crisps

  1. Peel and then thinly slice garlic cloves.
  2. Bring milk with a little bit of water to a simmer and then throw in garlic to blanch and remove the heat of them. Leave to poach in milk for 5 mins.
  3. Once blanched, drain and then into a tray with paper towel to dry.
  4. Heat oil in saucepan or deep fat fryer to 150℃ and throw in garlic and fry slowly until golden brown and crispy
  5. Once fried, drain excess oil and then season with salt.

Turnip tops

  1. Wash and pick turnip tops leaves.
  2. Melt butter in a pan with 200ml of water.
  3. Bring the emulsion into a simmer and stir in turnip tops, adjust seasoning, cook for a minute and fish out turnip tops using a slotted spoon.

Fish stock

  1. In a large pot, place fish bones, white wine and enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Skim off white foam or any scum on top as it approaches boiling, reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except salt) and leave to simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove stock from the heat and leave to steep for at least 10 minutes. Pass through a fine mesh chinois, season lightly with salt and then set aside until needed.

Curry sauce

  1. Place ingredients 1 to 7 along with the vegetable oil in Robocoupe and blitz until resembles a paste.
  2. On a hot pan cook the paste until caramelized and fragrant.
  3. Place the cooked paste on the side of the pan, add more oil(if needed) and fry the spices in the same pan and toast for couple of minutes and then stir together with the paste.
  4. Deglaze the pan with fish stock, make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to lift all the sediments(flavour). Bring to the boil and reduce to about ½.
  5. Once reduced add coconut milk and palm sugar, bring back to a simmer and adjust seasoning with soy sauce and fish sauce (may not need all).
  6. Once happy with the seasoning add in peanut butter, stir and leave to simmer again until thick (coating consistency). Adjust seasoning again if needed.

Why you should get involved