Pan-fried sea bass with caper-and-anchovy potato cakes, samphire and cream

Our kitchen garden cook reveals a delicious recipe that makes good use of seasonal samphire.

This deliciously salty sea vegetable, which grows on our shores, is a natural accompaniment to fish.

Pan-fried sea bass with caper-and-anchovy potato cakes, samphire and cream


  • 450g chilled mashed potatoes
  • 3 finely chopped spring onions
  • 2tbspn capers
  • 6 finely chopped fresh anchovy fillets
  • 2tbspn freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 slice crusty bread (for breadcrumbs)
  • 50g finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 sea-bass fillets
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 150ml white wine
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 200g samphire
  • 100ml double cream
  • Parsley and lemons to serve

In a large bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, spring onions, capers, anchovy fillets and parsley. Add one beaten egg plus seasoning and mix well. To form the potato cakes, push spoonfuls of the mixture into a pastry ring, pushing down with the back of a spoon. There should be sufficient to make four cakes.

Chill them for at least 30 minutes and prepare three separate plates with the flour, a second beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Season the contents of each plate well and add the chopped hazelnuts to the breadcrumbs.

Recommended videos for you

Dip one side of each potato cake first into the flour, then the egg and, finally, the breadcrumbs. Return to the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and fry the potato cakes on both sides until golden. They’ll keep warm for a short time in the pan while you prepare the fish and sauce.

Cook the sea-bass fillets, skin-side down, in a hot, non-stick frying pan. When the fish begins to go opaque, turn the fillets over for a couple of minutes before transferring to the pan with the potato cakes. The residual heat will continue to cook the fish.

Add the unsalted butter to the pan the fish was cooked in and, when melted, pour in the white wine and simmer until reduced by a third.

Add the vegetable stock and samphire and continue to simmer. Once the samphire is tender, pour in the double cream and heat gently to warm through.

To serve, put a potato cake onto each plate and divide the samphire and sauce between them. Top with the sea bass, a scattering of fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

samphireCrab, samphire and chilli blinis

Lightly toast 6 small blinis. Mix 50g of brown crabmeat with a teaspoon of spicy chilli sauce and divide it between the blinis. Add a dab of white crabmeat to each one (about 50g total). Top with a little blanched samphire and a scattering of chopped parsley. Lightly squeeze lemon juice over them before serving.

A side of samphire and new potatoes

One of my favourite ways to enjoy samphire is simply to blanch it in boiling water for a few minutes and mix it with boiled new potatoes. Add butter and pepper for a delicious accompaniment to fish or lamb.

Scallop, samphire and lemon tagliatelle (serves 4)

Cook 500g of tagliatelle, adding 100g of samphire for the last 5 minutes. Drain and return to the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and mix in 100g of chopped, fresh cherry tomatoes. Grate Parmesan into the pan. Mix well. Halve 12 scallops horizontally and fry them in a hot pan for a minute on each side. Gently fold into the tagliatelle and serve immediately with lightly dressed salad leaves.