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Pan-fried Seabass.

Pan-fried sea bass, herby crushed potato cake, minted pea purée, chargrilled artichokes, XO burnt butter sauce

This dish fuses British and Asian flavours with tastebud-tingling results!


  • 2 sea bass fillets (approximately 140g each)
  • 200g new potatoes
  • 100g garden peas
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 5 sprigs of thyme, chopped
  • 2 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled
  • 150g butter
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 50g capers
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • Oil for drizzling and frying
  • Salt for seasoning


For the potato cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
  2. Boil the new potatoes until soft, then remove from the water.
  3. Place the potatoes on a baking tray, add the thyme and drizzle oil over, then add seasoning.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes (until crispy).
  5. Once cooled, crush the potatoes in your hands to form two cakes (use a 3-inch metal pastry cutter), then set aside.

For the pea purée

  1. Boil the peas in a pan. Add the mint, a small knob of butter and season.
  2. Once cooked, blend the peas until smooth and set aside.

For the artichokes

  1. Halve the artichokes.
  2. Char the smooth side of each artichoke for a couple of minutes in a griddle pan, then place on a baking tray.
  3. Bake at 200°C for 20–25 minutes and set aside.

For the sea bass

  1. Ensure the fish is dry.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil in a saucepan and once it’s hot (starting to smoke), season the fillet and place it skin-side down in the pan, pressing to avoid it curling.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and leave it to cook for 3–4 minutes.
  4. Once the flesh has cooked two-thirds of the way up and the skin is brown and crispy, flip it over and cook for a further 2–3 minutes.

To finish the dish and serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Reheat the potato cake and artichokes. This should take about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the butter in a pan until it starts to brown, add the sliced shallots, garlic, chilli and capers.
  4. In another pan, heat the pea purée.
  5. Place the purée in the centre of the plate, add the potato cake on top, and arrange the artichokes around it. The fish should sit on top of the cake, skin-side up.
  6. Drizzle the XO burnt butter sauce around the fish.

Johnny’s tips: To ensure crispy fish skin, dry the fillets with kitchen roll before seasoning with salt.

Make sure you don’t add too much oil to the pan and ensure it’s hot before adding the fillet – be careful as the fish may pop and spit!

Recipe by Johnny Varah

Head Chef

The Cridford Inn


Johnny Varah. Head Chef. Cridford Inn, Trusham, Devon

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