Basa is an exceptionally versatile fish. Light and flaky, high in protein and omega-3. Perfectly partnered with a creamy celeriac purée and buttery green sauce and topped with a zingy salad, this dish will please all diners.
Green herb sauce
4 cups soft green herbs- parsley, basil, and/or coriander, washed and dried
2 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
Quick pickled fennel
250ml white wine vinegar
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1 bulb fennel, shaved
1. For the fish
Pat the thawed fish fillets with paper towel, place on a tray and refrigerate until required. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the fish and olive oil (in two batches depending on the size of the pan). Cook for three minutes, turn over carefully and cook for a further minute or two until just cooked through. Transfer to a tray, loosely cover and rest before serving.
2. For the herb sauce
Have an ice bath ready. Bring a medium or large pot of salted water to the boil, add the herbs and cook for 10-20 seconds until just wilted. Quickly remove from the water and plunge into the ice bath. Remove the herbs from the ice bath, squeezing all excess water from them and transfer to a blender (high powered is best) with the garlic and the olive oil. Blitz for 2 minutes. Put a sieve lined with muslin over a bowl, pour the herb sauce in and leave to drip through slowly (this can take 20 minutes or so). Do not press on the herbs to force the process or you will end up with a cloudy oil. Set aside until needed.
3. For the quick pickled fennel
Put the vinegar, salt, sugar into a bowl and mix until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Lightly squeeze half the shaved fennel and add to the vinegar mixture, toss, and set aside for a minimum of 30 minutes.
3. For the celeriac purée
Bring a large pot of sea salty water to the boil. Add the celeriac, potato and cook for 10 minutes until almost tender. Drain and return to the pot to the stove, adding the bay leaf, nutmeg, butter, and cream to gently simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf then purée using an immersion blender. Season to taste.
4. To serve
Whisk 90ml (or more if desired) herb oil into the warm clarified butter. Dress the baby spinach with the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, add the other half of the fennel and toss together, season to taste.
Serve the basa with the celeriac purée, a little of the baby spinach salad, pickled fennel and a drizzle of the green herb sauce.
- The fish should be cooked to order, the herb sauce, pickled fennel and celeriac purée can be made in advance.
- The quantities for this recipe can easily be multiplied.
- Unused herb oil can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several weeks.
- Unused pickled fennel can be stored in the fridge for 5 days.