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Sea Bass Risotto

Sea Bass Risotto

Serves 2 greedy people

2 sea bass fillets - one skinless and cut into small pieces and the other divided in half

6 tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

50 ml dry sherry (optional)

25 ml brandy (optional)

50 ml dry white wine

250 g risotto rice

Half cup of frozen peas

4 cups good fish stock

50 g butter


Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a shallow non-stick frying pan and when hot place the two halves of sea bass fillet, skin down, into the hot pan. Cook for a few minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets until the sides of the fillets turn white. Turn over and cook for a minute or two on the other side making sure the fish is cooked through but not overcooked. Remove from the heat and set to one side.

Now add the skinless pieces of fish to the oil and stir through quickly. As soon as the pieces are cooked through (it should only take a minute or two, splash in the brandy and sherry. Stir the fish and add 2 tbs of the fish stock to the pan. Set to one side and keep warm.

Meanwhile, put the remaining fish stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer.

Heat the remaining oil and half the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for a few minutes until the onion is soft but not browned. Turn up the heat, stir in the rice and cook for a minute or two until the grains of rice are coated with the oil. Add the wine to the saucepan and cook rapidly until evaporated. 

Pour a ladle of hot fish stock onto the rice. Stirring constantly, let the rice absorb the stock and then add another ladleful. Add the frozen peas. Continue adding the stock in small quantities gradually, stirring constantly initially and then stirring frequently. The rice should remain at a steady simmer. 

After about 12 to 15 minutes stir in the smaller pieces of sea bass and the fish juices into the rice. Once the rice is done - after about 20 minutes, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Remove the rice from the heat, leave for a few moments and then stir in the remaining butter. 

Spoon the risotto into a serving bowl, place the two remaining sea bass fillets on top of the rice and serve immediately.

The Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore (to give it its full title), Ylice, from Poderi Mattioli or the delightful Le Gemme from the Azienda Brunori, both in Marche, would be perfect matches for this risotto.

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