Sea bass with saffron, sherry and pine nuts

Sea Bass with saffron, sherry and pine nuts

For those still going strong with dry January and looking to continue with healthy, low-fat, high-protein meals, we have just the dish: sea bass with saffron, sherry and pine nuts. We found this recipe buried away in Nigella Summer, but as this fish is still reasonably abundant this time of year, why not try it now. It contains just 5 ingredients and is by far one of the quickest meals we’ve ever prepared.

We suggest serving this with a portion of Basmati rice and a steamed green vegetable of your choice, so as not to overpower the flavours of the fish, saffron and sherry dish. The recipe below should serve four people if cooking with the rice and vegetables.

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes + 4 minutes (for the fish)


  • 4 fillets of sea bass
  • 1.5 tbsp sultanas
  • 1 pinch of saffron strands
  • 3 tbsp amontillado sherry
  • 1 handful of toasted pine nuts
  • 125ml water
  • sea salt


  1. Cut the fish into smaller pieces – we found cutting each fillet into three was probably the optimum size (as it fits of a fish slice easily for flipping). Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside for minute whilst you booze up the sultanas. Sea bass
  2. Put the sultanas in a microwave-proof bowl, strew with the saffron strands and pour over the sherry. Put this in the microwave and blitz for 30 seconds, which should just be enough time to make the liquid warm to touch, but not so hot that everything starts boiling. Leave to stew whilst you toast the pine nuts. Saffron, sherry and sultanas
  3. Put a thick bottomed frying pan (if you have one) over a medium heat and add the pine nuts (no oil required). Toss every minute until they become golden brown. Keep your eye on these as they will suddenly go black very quickly. Empty onto a plate and set aside. Pine nuts
  4. Pour the saffron-infused sherry and sultanas into the same frying pan you just used and add the water. Leave to come to a simmer over the heat and then add the fish pieces – cooking as many as will fit in the frying pan at once, so you may have to do a couple of batches. The fish needs to be nearly (but not completed) submerged so add a splash more water if required. The fish cooks very quickly so after 1-2 minutes flip the fillets over carefully with a fish slice or spatula and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set on a plate ready to serve.
  5. Turn the heat up and allow the remaining liquid to reduce to a yellow syrup. Pour this over the fish, scatter over with the pine nuts and serve with basmati rice.

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