Steamed Sea Bass with Fennel and Capers

Want to know a secret?

Sea Bass is one of the easiest fish to cook on the planet.

I learned this first hand growing up in a Chinese American household. Mum and Dad’s special yummy Sunday steamed Sea Bass dish remained in my memories for many years and I still crave a fishy Sunday these days. And it only took about 10 minutes to prep!

I recently made friends with some friendly fishmongers in my side of town and received these two beautiful fresh sea bass fresh off the boat. I wanted to try Mum and Dad’s recipe but I decided to take a little spin with a French twist.

This recipe is so simple, but yet you will look like a pro by impressing all of your mates at dinner parties!

Sea Bass with Fennel and Capers - New Yorker Meets London

When cooking fish in individual foil packets, or en papillote, as in French, the flavour that greets you when you open it up from the oven is absolutely incredible.

You can use a range of herbs and ingredients in this recipe but the key thing is to make sure some liquid is present in the packet before you put them in the oven, to ensure that fish is steamed to perfection.

To serve 4 people you will need:

  • 2 sea bass (300g each) scaled and cleaned (feel free to ask the fish monger to do this for you)
  • 2 fennel bulbs, keep those fronds
  • 3 tbsp small capers
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 2 dill sprigs
  • 25g butter
  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml white wine
  • Sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 200C. Make sure to season the fish well by rubbing some sea salt and pepper inside and out. Prepare a oven dish by lining it with a large piece of foil, enough to close up as foil package later.

Slice the fennel in fine, fine slices. Don’t you just love the smell of this amazing under-used vegetable? Place the sliced fronds from the fennel inside the fish cavity. Then sprinkle the caper and line the lemon slices on top of the fennel.

Then, use a little teaspoon, scoop out little balls of butter and place 4-5 pieces on top of the fish. Top with the dill sprigs. Beautiful! Voila!

Drizzle over with some olive oil and white wine. Wrap the whole dish in the foil into a parcel. Make sure the parcel is sealed well!

Now bake and bake for about 20 minutes for every 600g of fish. If unsure, open the parcel and make sure the fish flesh is flaking away fro the bone.

Remove from oven and leave it to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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