Fish can be expensive to buy and a bit daunting to cook, but is healthy and very popular.

I’ve learned the following lessons from a few mistakes over the years. Nowadays, I only buy fish the day I’m going to cook it, and only from a fishmonger.

I always wash it in cold water and pat it dry before staring to prepare it. This removes any stale water that can leave an unpleasant taste. If you are using a fillet of fish always check with your fingers for any bones before you start and remove them with tweezers.

Remove the fish from the fridge an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature, season it and rub with some olive oil.

This method here of roasting it in a very hot oven is the easiest way to cook fish. The fish cooks very quickly and there are less smells and fat splashing around if you grill or fry. Dressing the roast fish with this French sauce which is basically olive oil subtly flavoured with garlic, tomatoes and herbs transforms the fish into something sublime.

Try it!

Roasted Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

4 fillets sea bass with skin on

For the sauce

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin live oil

Small clove garlic, skin left on

Zest and half the juice of an unwaxed lemon

6 -8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon caper berries

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and fresh black pepper

Take the fish from the fridge an hour before roasting.

Rinse in cold water and pat dry.

Rub some olive oil on each side, season with sea salt and black pepper and set aside.

Pre-heat oven Gas 6 / 200F

Put a heavy griddle pan in the oven to warm it through.

When ready to cook put the fish skin side down onto the hot griddle pan and roast on the top shelf of the oven for 8-10 minutes until the underside of the skin is crispy and the fish is opaque.

While the fish is roasting prepare the sauce.

Warm the extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan, crush the garlic clove and add it to the oil.

Add the tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice and the caper berries and warm though.

Don’t let the garlic brown.

Remove from the heat, remove the garlic clove and discard.

Season the sauce with sea salt and black pepper.

Add the chopped parsley and torn basil leaves.

Place the roasted fillets on warmed serving plates and drizzle with the warm sauce .

Serve with some boiled new potatoes and a fresh green salad.