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Roasted Slashed Fillet of Sea Bass Baked on Mushroom Potatoes

Jamie Oliver cooked this for Tony Blair and the Italian prime minister at the British/Italian summit last year. "It went down a treat so I thought I'd put it in the book. This is a really great way to cook sea bass. Try to get the fattest bass fillets you can find."

4 large (approximately 6 ounces) sea bass fillets with bottom skin left on
1 handful (about 1 cup) mixed green herbs (basil, parsley, thyme) roughly chopped
1 pound small boiling potatoes, scrubbed
Olive oil as needed
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 knobs (3 generous tablespoons) butter, divided
1 pound mixed mushrooms, preferably wild (cremini, shiitake, portobello), torn or roughly cut 3 large lemons

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Slash the fish fillets about halfway down (lengthwise) and stuff the slashes with the chopped green herbs. Slice potatoes lengthwise, just under 1/2 inch. Dry them off with paper towel and toss with olive oil to coat lightly.

Mix in half of garlic, season with salt and pepper and lay them out in one layer in a baking dish large enough to hold the fish fillets. Cook potatoes in oven for 15 minutes or until just cooked.

Heat the rest of the garlic in a second pan with 2 good knobs (about 2 tablespoons) butter and a lug (generous splash) of olive oil. When hot, add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid from mushrooms evaporates. Squeeze in juice from 1 lemon; stir in another knob of butter.

Scatter mushrooms over potatoes, and place sea bass fillets on top. Bake in the oven 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.

Remove the tray from the oven, cover with foil, and let sit for about 5 minutes, at which time all the lovely juices will run out into the potatoes.

Serve with half a lemon each and a glass of crisp white wine.

Serves 4.

Note: The original recipe called for a salsa, but the delicate sea bass, with a touch of fresh herbs on a bed of new potatoes and mushrooms needed no further enhancement than a splash of fresh lemon.

Adapted from "The Naked Chef Takes Off" by Jamie Oliver

Sunday, April 28, 2002

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