AFTER spending a week in August, in what some call God's own county, with somewhat dismal weather conditions, I was heartened to hear that the now not unusual Indian Summer had lifted the gloom.
This was too good an opportunity to miss. So, after lunch on Sunday, I jumped into the mean machine and headed to the southwest of England.
Three hours later, I was nursing a pint of Otter beer in The Ship, on the Devon coast.
My companion, now officially a local, pointed out towards the harbour, to where his yacht, Coriander, was moored. "I've put your rods on board; you can catch tomorrow's dinner," he mused.
The next day, high tide was just after 10am, so we rowed out to the boat, and we were soon motoring out over the bar.
Forty minutes later we tucked in behind the famous Ore Stone at Torbay. We drifted in the lee of the Stone, and whilst the skipper played the gib, to hold position, I busied myself with the fishing tackle.
Well, as usual, not a lot happened, but then I pulled in a quite small mackerel. Not what I was hoping for. Half an hour on, bobbing gently about in the late autumn sunshine, I had a grey mullet on the line.
Again, OK, but was I going to get what I wanted?
We were about to give up, and already discussing what could be done with mullet, when there was a sharp, and very tight pull on my line. Gradually and gently I reeled in a very fine looking bass! Eureka!
A few hours later, the little beauty had been baked, and sat before us, ready for it's final destination!
Here's what we did...
Baked sea bass with fennel, rosemary & garlic
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 800g bass, scaled and gutted
1 bulb of fennel, halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 good sprig of rosemary
1 good sprig of thyme
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 lemon, thinly sliced
50ml olive oil
250ml white wine
Sea salt and milled pepper
1) Brush the fish with the oil, and season inside and out.
2) Place the herbs, garlic, lemons and fennel inside the cavity.
3) Lay a large piece of foil into a roasting tray, place the fish in the middle, pour over the wine and then seal the foil tightly.
4) Place into a hot oven 200ºC/gas mark 6 for about 30 minutes.
5) The foil will puff out, and should be opened at the table to release the wonderful aromas within. Wow!