Roast sea bass with chermoula & lemon salad

by Lesley Holdship

Sea bass with a coating of North African spice

This zesty salad will work just as well with other citrus fruits such as orange or even grapefruit. If you like a strong, bitter flavour, try Seville orange.


2 preserved lemons, pips removed
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 pinch of saffron
1 plump clove of garlic, peeled
1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
Sea salt
50g coriander leaves
4 sea bass fillets

For the salad:
4 lemons
50g raisins
25ml olive oil
1 handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
1 handful of coriander leaves
50g baby spinach


Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

For really satisfying preparation, pound the lemons, cumin, paprika, saffron, garlic, chilli and a lovely generous pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Add the coriander leaves and pound again until everything makes a rough paste. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, use a food processor or in the event of a power cut, just chop everything very finely!

Coat the bass fillets with the chermoula and lay on the tray skin side up, then set aside for a few mins while you prepare the salad.

Peel the skin from the lemons, then holding the flesh over a bowl containing the raisins, segment them, leaving behind the pith and letting all the juice and segments fall in with the raisins. Squeeze the pithy bits to release any juice too.

Pour the olive oil over the raisins and lemon segments and leave to macerate for a moment.

Place the bass in the oven and roast for 7-8 mins.

Toss the herbs and spinach with the raisins and lemon. Serve the bass with a generous pile of salad. 

Recipe: Lesley Holdship
Images: John Holdship