Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 7–8 minutes
750 ml (1¼ pints) chicken or vegetable stock
1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges, herby tops reserved (optional)
12 fine asparagus spears
150 g (5 oz) frozen peas, thawed
150 g (5 oz) broad beans, podded
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sea bass fillets, about 200 g (7 oz) each, skin on and pin-boned
small handful of mint leaves, torn
small handful of basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper
Read also: HOT AND SOUR BEEF BROTH
Put the stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the fennel, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until almost tender. Add the asparagus, peas and broad beans and cook for a 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Season the sea bass with salt and pepper and place, skin side down, in the pan. Cook for 3–4 minutes or until the skin is crispy, then turn the fish over and cook for a further minute.
Ladle the vegetable broth into bowls and sprinkle with a few torn mint and basil leaves. Top the broth with the pan-fried sea bass and reserved herby fennel tops, if liked, and serve.
For Thai broth with prawns, peel and devein 500 g (1 lb) raw tiger prawns, reserving the shells and heads. Heat 750 ml (1¼ pints) fish or chicken stock in a saucepan. Add the prawn shells and heads, 2 roughly chopped lemon grass stalks, a 5 cm (2 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, 1 dried red chilli and 2 kaffir lime leaves. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the stock to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and return it to a clean saucepan. Add the prawns and poach for 3–4 minutes or until they have turned pink and are cooked through. Add 125 g (4 oz) sugar snap peas 1 minute before the end of the cooking time.