Roast sea bass with tapenade and basil mashed potatoes – by Conrad Gallagher

11 September 2006
Roast sea bass with tapenade and basil mashed potatoes – by Conrad Gallagher


(serves four)

For the tapenade (enough for eight)
50g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
200g black and green stoned olives
1 small bunch chives roughly chopped
1tbs anchovy paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50ml olive oil

For baked tomatoes 20g coarse sea salt
8 plum tomatoes halved
8tbs olive oil
4 shallots peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
20g caster sugar
4 x 150g sea bass fillets
2-3tbs olive oil
50g butter
2-3tbs Madeira

For the mashed potatoes (for about six) 50g butter
50ml cream
10 basil leaves finely julienned
800g potatoes peeled boiled till tender and pushed through a sieve
20ml basil oil
Salt and pepper


Make the tapenade by processing all its ingredients in a food processor until smooth then pass through a sieve. Readjust the seasoning if necessary and chill till ready to use.

To make the baked tomatoes preheat oven to 100ºC. Sprinkle sea salt on to a large baking tray. Place the tomatoes skin side up on the salt. Pour the olive oil on the tomatoes and sprinkle remaining ingredients on top. Bake overnight or for at least six to eight hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing the skins. Reheat in a moderate oven.

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Carefully paste some tapenade on to each sea bass fillet. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the sea bass flesh side down for one minute. Add the butter and Madeira and baste the sea bass. Transfer to the oven and cook for a few minutes.

For the basil mash potatoes heat butter and cream and allow to reduce slightly. Add basil leaves and gradually stir in mashed potatoes. Stir in basil oil and season.

To serve place some basil mashed potatoes on to the centre of each plate and top with the overnight-baked tomatoes and some sautéd baby fennel or leeks. Gently place the fish on top and garnish with extra tapenade and basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Conrad Gallagher

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