Theme of the day today, seems to be Spanish, so here's another delightful fish dish you might not have tried before. You don't have to use sea bass - hake, bream, cod, haddock, monkfish or your favourite fish will all go delightfully with this subtle cider and tomato sauce, which compliments white fish beautifully.
Lubina a la Sidra
(Sea bass in a cider sauce)
A delicious way to serve sea bass (or your favourite fish – don't forget to adjust cooking times accordingly), shown served with roasted vegetables with oregano (73 calories per serving) and roasted new potatoes (110 calories per serving).
Serves two, 258 calories per serving for the sea bass and cider sauce. 331 calories if served with the roasted vegetables, and 441 if you have the potatoes as well.
You can serve any white fish you like with this, grilled, oven-baked or even steamed (just remember to weigh it and adjust the calories as appropriate).
I wouldn’t recommend attempting to pan fry the fish in this small amount of oil, as most likely it will stick to the pan both before and after you turn (scrape!) it, unless you have a really, really good non stick coating. I tried and failed twice with two different kinds of fish! However, if you'd like to pan fry it, and you're not counting calories, then season, flour, and fry in 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil in a good, heavy based non-stick pan. If you fry it skin side first, immediately take the pan off the heat when it starts to curl up, and gently press back down with a spatula/fish slice, and return to the heat once it has flattened and it will stay flat.
- 2 sea bass fillets (normally sold with skin on, or your favourite fish, weigh and adjust calories accordingly – it will probably be less), 95g each, 190g total 
- 1 tsp olive oil 
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
For the cider sauce
- ½ large onion, finely chopped (70g) 
- ½ teaspoon olive oil 
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed 
- 1 large vine tomato, skinned, cored and chopped (130g) 
- ¼ tsp sugar (optional) 
- 175ml strong dry cider 
- Salt (initially try ¼ teaspoon) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
Roasted Potatoes and Sides
See bottom of method
If you’re serving with the potatoes, then it’s easiest to get the potatoes on first, make the sauce, set aside, then grill the fish after you’ve made the sauce, once the potatoes and your side dishes of choice are nearly done. If you’d prefer to serve it with roasted Mediterranean vegetables, then pop them in the oven underneath the potatoes on a lower shelf.
To make the cider sauce
Take a non-stick, heavy-based pan and put on low heat on the hob. Add the olive oil and gently sauté the onions for 10 to 12 minutes until softened and just beginning to turn slightly golden (fig 1).
|1. 2. 3. 4.|
Add the crushed garlic, and continue cooking for another minute, stirring and ensuring it doesn’t burn (as this will make your sauce taste bitter). Add the tomato and sugar, turn up the heat stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated (fig.2). Add the cider, salt and pepper (fig.3), bring to a simmer and cook for another five or more minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened (as in fig.4). You can take the sauce off the heat now, and then reheat for a minute or two just before serving, if you don’t want to cook it at the same time as cooking your fish.
To cook the sea bass
Wash and pat dry the sea bass fillets. Check for any bones, and remove if necessary. Gently rub ½ tsp olive oil over each sea bass fillet and then season and place on your foil-lined tray, skin side up (this will keep it moist). Set the grill (broiler) to high, then place the sea bass underneath for about 5 to 7 minutes (depending on thickness) until the skin is just beginning to turn slightly brown, and the fish is just cooked through.
Spinach with pine nuts and raisins (87 calories per serving), Roasted vegetables with oregano dressing (73 calories per serving, see below), or serve with simple steamed vegetables.
Baby roast new potatoes
Parboil 250g new/baby potatoes in their skins (halved if large) salted water for eight to ten minutes. Roast in a hot oven (Gas mark 7/220C/425F) tossed in 1 tsp olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for 20-30 minutes (depending on how you like the skin cooked). You can turn the oven down and keep them warm while you cook the fish. Serves two, 110 calories per serving.