Rare Recipe from Bryan Webb, Tyddyn Llan
Prior to moving to Wales, Bryan ran Hilaire in London, a restaurant highly acclaimed by the food guides. Bryan has continued to gather awards and accolades at Tyddyn Llan. His cooking is all about subtle flavours and an uncompromising attitude to sourcing the finest, freshest ingredients.
Bass and Laverbread has been a favourite of mine since my early days of cooking at the Drangway restaurant in Swansea back in the early eighties.
We would go though loads of bass caught just off the coast. They would all be line caught and stiff as a board so we had to leave them a day to be able to fillet them. It cost less than 90p a pound - that’s showing my age!
Bass is the one thing Wales has in common with the south of France. We have the best bass swimming around our shores and these days farmed bass is readily available for the home cook and restaurants that choose to serve a one portion fish. The wild type is always my first choice but I run a restaurant where you expect only the best. Fresh line-caught bass have a ravishingly beautiful-bright silver belly which darkens to a pale blue grey on its sides. It’s a great sporting fish and thrives in rough weather.
Laverbread grows on the rocks and beaches of the Gower coast near Swansea. It has a dark and smooth appearance which makes it distinctive. Traditionally it is boiled for hours to render it to a thick puree. It is sold in the markets and fishmongers in south Wales and it’s a part of Welsh culture and heritage and is as famous as our lamb.
The combination of fresh wild bass and a light Laverbread butter is a simple combination but it is a light dish and speaks volumes about Welsh food.
Roast Wild Bass with Laverbread Butter Sauce