Earthy puy lentils with just-wilted baby spinach, topped with grilled sea bass and a buttery, lemony sauce. This delicious Sea Bass with Puy Lentils and Spinach recipe is very quick and simple to make, but looks impressive – perfect for a dinner party or any time you want to impress, but easy enough for a midweek treat!
A quick and simple dinner party main
This Sea Bass with Puy Lentils and Spinach dish is one of my favourite types of recipe. It’s quick and easy to make, but looks impressive and tastes delicious, which makes it a great option for a dinner party main. Of course, you don’t have to save this recipe for special occasions… It only takes 20 minutes to make, so it’s also perfect for busy midweek evenings when you want to eat well but don’t have a lot of time.
A secret shortcut…
One of the reasons why this dish is so quick to make is because it uses one of my favourite shortcuts: pre-cooked lentils! Lentils often take quite a while to cook, but these days you can get pouches of pre-cooked lentils which take just a couple of minutes to reheat. All you need to do is place the lentils into a large saucepan together with a splash of water and gently reheat for a couple of minutes before stirring through the baby spinach.
An easy peasy way to cook sea bass fillets
Do you struggle to cook sea bass? Often the suggestion is to pan fry sea bass fillets… And while that is a delicious way to cook sea bass, it can cause problems: the skin can stick to the pan, the fish can break and it’s easy to overcook this delicate fish. It’s also a bit of a pain if you are trying to cook a lot of sea bass fillets all at once – for example, for a dinner party.
Fortunately I have a very easy and virtually foolproof way to cook sea bass fillets… and that’s to cook them under the grill! (US – broiler) All you need to do is place your sea bass fillets on your grill rack, coat each side with olive oil, salt and pepper, then grill for 3 minutes skin-side up and then 1 minute skin-side down under a very hot grill. The result? Perfectly crispy skin, perfectly cooked flesh and absolutely no drama!
Of course, you may wish to slightly adapt the timings to your own personal preference, but once you know your own preferred timings, you will know exactly how to cook perfect sea bass fillets every single time.
Alternatives to sea bass
I have used sea bass fillets in this recipe, but you could use any other similar fish fillets: lemon sole, sea bream, plaice and cod all work well. You can even tweak this recipe to use salmon fillets, if you prefer. However, as salmon fillets are usually thicker, you will need to cook them for a little longer under the grill. For a typical 3cm (1 inch) thick salmon fillet, I recommend 4 minutes skin-side up and 5 minutes skin-side down.
What to serve with this dish?
This easy peasy Sea Bass with Puy Lentils and Spinach recipe is a main course in its own right and does not require any kind of additional accompaniment. However, if you want to, you could serve this dish with extra green vegetables (asparagus, tenderstem broccoli or green beans, for example) and/or some crusty white bread.
What to drink with sea bass?
This delicious sea bass dish works well with many different white wines. My top recommendations are Spanish Albariño or an unoaked / lightly oaked Chardonnay from somewhere like New Zealand, Chile or Australia. But this wine-friendly fish will also work well with Muscadet, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or even English Bacchus.
Can you reheat this recipe?
This is a dish that is best served straightaway. I don’t recommend making it in advance and reheating it.
Can you freeze this recipe?
No, I don’t recommend freezing this dish.
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Sea Bass with Puy Lentils and Spinach
Butter and Lemon Sauce
- 50 g lightly salted butter
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1 small handful of parsley (roughly 15g / ½oz) chopped finely
Puy Lentils with Spinach
- 500g g pre-cooked puy lentils (I use 2 x 250g pouches Merchant Gourmet puy lentils)
- 125 g baby spinach leaves
Grilled Sea Bass Fillets
- 4 sea bass fillets (See Note 1)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the butter into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat. When the butter has just melted, turn off the heat and add the juice and zest of 1 lemon, plus all the capers and chopped parsley. Leave in the pan while you cook the lentils and fish.
- Place the puy lentils into a pan and add a small splash of water, heat gently for 2 to 3 minutes with the lid on.
- When the lentils are hot, stir through the spinach and allow the spinach to wilt in the heat of the lentils. When the spinach has just started to wilt, turn off the heat. Leave in the pan while you cook the fish.
- Preheat your grill (broiler) to hot.
- Place the sea bass fillets on a grill rack in a grill tray. Season the fillets and coat with a thin layer of olive oil (use either your fingertips or a pasty brush). Ensure this is done on both sides, then cook under a hot grill for 3 minutes skin-side up, followed by 1 minute skin-side down. (Use a fish slice to flip the fish over.)
- Divide the puy lentil mixture between 4 plates and top each mound with a sea bass fillet. Spoon over the lemony, buttery sauce and serve.
- I have used sea bass fillets in this recipe, but you could use any other similar fish fillets: lemon sole, sea bream, plaice and cod fillets all work well. You can even tweak this recipe to use salmon fillets, if you prefer. However, as salmon fillets are usually thicker, you will need to cook them for a little longer under the grill. For a typical 3cm (1 inch) thick salmon fillet, I recommend 4 minutes skin-side up and 5 minutes skin-side down.
- Not suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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