Growing up on a working Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast while holding on to the apron strings of her mother, Catherine Fulvio (nee Byrne) was destined ...
4 fennel bulbs (keeping a few fennel fronds for garnish)
140 ml olive oil
4 cloves garlic (halved lengthways)
4 sea bass fillets (120g each)
2 tblsp basil (roughly chopped)
20 g black olives (halved)
Remove the tough outside layers of the fennel, chop the fronds and set them aside.
Cut the bulb in half top to bottom, then cut it into four wedges.
Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan, add the fennel and fry it over a high heat, stirring from time to time, until they begin to turn golden brown.
Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add four tablespoons of hot water and season. Cover the pan, turn the heat down and cook until the fennel is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Next, preheat a frying pan to cook the sea bass.
Slash one cm deep cuts across the skin of the fish fillets and season with the chopped herbs and push this mixture into the slashes.
Brush the fish with oil. Place the fillets in a hot pan/griddle pan skin-side down and grill/cook for about two top three. Turn over and grill for a further four minutes or until cooked. Squeeze the juice from one of the lemons and mix it with 100ml of olive oil.
Quarter the other lemon and set aside. When the fennel is done, add the olives, remove the pan from the heat, add the fennel tops and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Place the grilled fish on serving plates, pour the lemon dressing over and scatter with any remaining herbs.
Add a wedge of lemon to each portion. Serve with the fennel and olives.