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  • Spiced Sea Bass with Citrus Butter

    A fragrant dinner dish from Citrus: Recipes that celebrate the sour and the sweet by Catherine Phipps:

    "Citrus fruits are simply the most helpful ingredients you can have in your kitchen. Putting aside their own complexity of flavours, they are completely transformative. They enhance the savoury qualities of some ingredients and bring out the sweetness and flavours of others. They make ingredients sing, individually and in unison.

    The spicing here is fragrant rather than hot and has a vaguely Middle Eastern feel to it, so you could simply serve it with rice or couscous instead of the chickpeas and greens if you prefer."

    Spiced Sea Bass with Citrus Butter Sauce

    Serves 4

    I N G R E D I E N T S

    4 sea bass fillets, skin on
    1 tbsp olive oil
    30g/2 tbsp butter
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
    Juice of 1 large orange
    100ml/7 tbsp water
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the rub:
    1 tsp flaky sea salt, pounded 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp ground ginger
    1⁄4 tsp ground white pepper 1⁄4 tsp garlic powder
1⁄4 tsp ground turmeric

    To serve:
    350g/12oz spring greens, very finely shredded
    350g/21⁄2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

    M E T H O D

    Blot the sea bass fillets and lie skin-side down on kitchen paper. Combine all the rub ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the fillets. Press lightly.

    Before you start frying the fish, cook the spring greens. Wash thoroughly, then put in a large lidded saucepan without shaking off too much water. Cover and heat gently until the greens have wilted down and are just al dente – they should be a fresh, bright green.

    Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the sea bass fillets, skin side down, and fry for a couple of minutes. Flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Remove from the frying pan and keep warm.

    Add the butter, garlic, lemon zest and juice and orange juice to the pan. Turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble until you have a glossy, syrupy sauce. Pour into a jug.

    Deglaze the pan with the water. Add the chickpeas and spring greens and stir to pick up any flavour residue. Season with salt and pepper.

    Serve the fish with the chickpeas and greens, and the sauce spooned over. 

    Recipe from 'Citrus' by Catherine Phipps (Quadrille, £20). Photography by Mowie Kay.