This spicy fish dish packs a punch but the Szechuan peppercorns will help you out by numbing your mouth. It’s a weird sensation but you’ll soon see why it’s such a classic combo.
2 sea bass fillets
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
4cm ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli, seeds in or out to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
4 spring onions, sliced
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
Crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar, then add the 1 tbsp oil, the ginger, garlic, chilli, sugar and half of the spring onions. Work into a thick paste and set aside.
Slash the skin side of the fish and salt both sides of the fillet.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Once fully heated, place the fish skin side down and fry for 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, flip the fillets and let them cook for a further minute in the residual heat. Take the fish out of the pan and keep it warm.
Add a splash more oil into the pan if required and fry the paste for a few minutes until the aromas have been released.
Pour the sauce over the fish, sprinkle with the remaining spring onions and serve straight away.
This dish goes really well served with my nuoc cham noodle salad.