Nathan Outlaw’s grilled sea bass, smoked mackerel pate and pickled cucumber recipe

Inspired by Nathan Outlaw.

For those who doesn’t know who Nathan Outlaw is, he owns a two Star Michelin fish & seafood restaurant in Rock, Cornwall. It is one of the restaurants on my ‘really-want-to-visit list’. His restaurant has been awarded Best Fish Restaurant in the UK by the Good Food Guide 2011 and his restaurant was rated 5th in the UK, climbing to a cooking score of 9/10 in 2013. 

Nathan Outlaw british seafood cookbook is probably one of my favourite cookbooks. It contains recipes which really works for me with amazing results (given enough time to prepare). Also, the ingredients are not too crazy difficult to source and recipes are not too crazy difficult (this is compared to my cookbooks from The Square London in which the recipes are of a quite high level of technicality)

Yesterday, my friend invited me over to her flat to stay. Joy of joys, finally I am in touch with the internet! (that’s why I have not been able to update my blog as I just moved flat and waiting for internet to be set up is a pain in the neck especially the area I live in) 

I also took the opportunity to buy some fish off Fayre fishmonger which is next to my flat! I love my new fishmongers, fish is amazingly fresh! Good range of fish to choose from. 

Decided on seabass as the main course and to try out Nathan Outlaw’s grilled sea bass, smoked mackerel pate and pickled cucumber.

This is probably the second recipe I have tried from his cookbook and I really love the balance of flavours. The slight sweetness and tanginess of the cucumber goes really well with the seabass. Was a pretty refreshing dish. Only problem with making this dish was my friend’s fridge was broken so I could not chill my pate….so pate did not turn out as well as I would like it to…but otherwise, really love it. Think the amazingness of this dish lies in the simplicity of the grilled fish. The skin is amazingly tasty when grilled to the point of blistering and becoming crispy. The fish was so moist and tender that it melted in my mouth. Not at all dry in texture…love it!

His recipes contains dill and he uses dill as part of the presentation. I was unfortunate enough to not be able to find any dill so had to omit this out of my dish, but I have included the dill in the recipe though.

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My tried-ever-so-hard-to-copy-Nathan-Outlaw’s grilled sea bass, smoked mackerel pate and pickled cucumber.

I also spotted some samphire at the fishmongers and decided to buy some as well to create my own dish of pan-fried sea bass on a bed of samphire. It turned out pretty well. Simple but delicious. I have to say, I really love the freshness of the fish. It does make a simple dish taste extremely good.  

Samphire is a sea vegetable that grows abundantly on shorelines, in marshy shallows and on salty mudflats. It has a crisp texture and tastes of the sea. Wash samphire thoroughly under running water before use. Don’t add salt to the cooking water as it’s already salty enough. 

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my simple creation of pan-friend sea bass on a bed of samphire.

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Grilled sea bass, smoked mackerel pate and pickled cucumber recipe by Nathan Outlaw:

Serves 4

4 filleted sea bass portions, from a 1.5kg fish, pin-boned

olive oil for cooking

Cornish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Pickled cucumber:

1 cucumber

50ml white wine

50ml white wine vinegar

50g caster sugar

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

50ml water

2 tsp chopped dill (stalks reserved), plus extra sprigs to garnish

2 tsp chopped chives


Smoked mackerel pate:

300g smoked mackeral fillet, skinned and pin-boned

juice of 1 lemon

100g natural yoghurt

100g cream cheese

To finish (optional): lemon oil


To prepare the pickled cucumber, halve the cucumber lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut lengthways into long 5mm thick slices and place in a bowl. For the pickling liquor, put the wine, wine vinegar, sugar, shallots, garlic and water into a pan and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the dill stalks, then pour the boiling liquid over the cucumber. Leave to cool. Discard the dill stalks and add the chopped dill and chives.

To make the pate, put the smoked mackerel and most of the lemon juice into a food processor and blend for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the yoghurt and cream cheese and blend for 2 minutes until well combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and a little more lemon juice if needed. Scoop into a dish, cover and chill until required. 

To cook the dish, heat your grill to medium and oil the grill tray. Season the bass with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil. Lay the fillets, skin side up, on the oiled tray and place under the grill. Cook for 5 minutes or until the skin starts to colour and crisp.

Place the bass fillets on warmed plates. Add a portion of pickled cucumber and top with a generous spoonful of smoked mackerel. Garnish with dill sprigs and finish with a drizzle of lemon oil if you wish. 

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Pan-fried sea bass on a bed of samphire recipe:

Serves 2

2 fillets of sea bass

50g samphire, trimmed and washed

Knob of butter

Sea salt and black pepper


Season the fillet of sea bass with salt and pepper.

Blanch the samphire in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and briefly glaze in a covered pan with a knob of butter. Arrange samphire on a plate.

Pour olive oil into a pan. When the pan is hot, pan fry the sea bass skin side down. Cook, without moving the fillet, for 2-3 minutes until skin is crisp/brown, then flip the sea bass over and cook for another 1 minute. Take off the heat.

Place the cooked sea bass on the bed of samphire.


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