Mabel’s Daddy is from Grimsby and so his love for fish not only comes naturally, it’s very much in his blood.  The first meal he ever cooked for me was, in fact, sea bass.  I guess he did a pretty good job because fast forward a few years and here we are, happier than ever with Mabel.

So when Mabel and I popped to the fishmonger today, as soon as I said the words “two sea bass please”, I knew her Daddy would be proud (not to mention also pretty happy that he would get to eat the bass tonight, along with Mabel).

For me, there’s no better way – and no clearer way – to show someone how much they mean to you then to cook them something you know they will love.  Without getting overly soppy (because you don’t want to read that anymore than I want to write it), Mabel’s Daddy does truly deserve to eat the best I can cook for him every night of the week (though he would prefer if, once in a while, I’d hand over the kitchen and let him cook – something that is very hard for me to do).

You see, he really is the best to both me and Mabel.  The amount he does and the overwhelming way he cares and loves us both means the very least we can do is pick up two sea bass, cook them in a way we know he will most appreciate and start Mabel early with her undeniable love for fish.

And just to be clear, she truly did love this dish.  She ate every bite and was singing as she did so.

She is her father’s daughter after all. (Recipe below).IMG_0386Ingredients:
2 medium whole sea bass, filleted and cleaned (ask your fishmonger to do this if you aren’t sure)
1 fennel
5 cubes frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 lemon
1 handful chopped fresh parsley
2 splashes of Vermouth
10g unsalted butter
Salt & pepper to taste
You will also need parchment paper

Method:
Slice the fennel and sauté in a pan with a spritz of olive oil spray until starting to soften (about 5-7 minutes).  Leave to cool.

Cut about 1/4 of one of the fillets of fish for baby.

Tear off 3 large pieces of parchment paper and, in the middle of each piece, place one fillet of fish (the baby’s version will have the 1/4 you already cut off from the larger piece).

On top of the fish, place the cooled fennel slices, then spinach, parsley, tomatoes and wedges of lemons (in the baby’s packet, just do a squirt of lemon juice over the fish instead of the whole lemon). Of course, also in the baby’s version, add less of each ingredient so they are just covering the length of the fish.

Now cut the butter into little squares and dot these over each portion as well, followed by cracked black pepper to taste.IMG_0363The baby’s version is now done, but for the grown up packets, add a splash of Vermouth to each and salt to taste.

Place the other fillet on top of the first piece of fish and the veg.

Wrap all the fish up in a parcel so it is fully enclosed.

Bake each in the oven preheated to 180c for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the fish.  Serve hot for grown ups and warm for babies!

For Mabel’s, I took the fish off the skin and flaked it by hand, ensuring there were no bones.  I then blitzed the veg the fish cooked with to a chunky mash and served with white rice.

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