Levi Roots' Baked Sea Bass with Aubergine, Spring Onion and Coconut

  • 1kg sea bass, or other similar fish, gutted, scaled and gills removed
  • 8 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 2 aubergines, tops removed and sliced
  • 4 spring onions, 2 trimmed, 2 chopped
  • 8 tbsp coconut cream
  • For the spice paste:
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1½ tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the coriander sauce:
  • 1 avocado
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 200g mayonaise
  • 3 tbsp of Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp of double cream
  • Finely chopped leaves from 1 small bunch of coriander
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and cut into slivers
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and cut into slivers

1. Make the spice paste by mixing all the ingredients together.

2. Make 3 or 4 neat slashes on each side of the fish, cutting into it but not down as far as the bones.

3. Rub the paste all over the fish, pushing it down into the slashes, and rubbing all over the insides too. Put the fish in a large dish, cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Heat 5 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan and colour the aubergines (you'll need to do this in batches) until pale gold on both sides. You don't need to cook them right through, just get some colour on them. Season well and lay on the base of a roasting tin or ovenproof dish big enough for the fish.

5. Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan and cook the fish on both sides, just to colour it a little, about 2½ minutes each side. It should be golden.

6. Set the fish on top of the aubergines in the roasting tin and scatter the spring onions over the top. Now spoon the coconut cream all over the fish and aubergines.

7. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the fish is soft, tender and cooked through.

8. While the seabass is cooking, make the sauce. You can do this in advance if you like but it tastes fresher the day it’s made.

9. Halve and stone the avocado and cut each half into slices. Peel each slice and cut the flesh into chunks. Immediately place the avocado in a bowl and poor over the lime juice.

10. Stir the mayonnaise, yoghurt, cream and salt and pepper together. Mix in the lime zest, coriander and chillies and then gently stir in the avodcado – be careful not to squash it. Taste for seasoning.

11. Cover and keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

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