Friday Supper: Bass with caramelized brussel sprouts served with Excelsior Viognier

This is a twist on traditional Christmas brussel sprouts. Serve with Excelsior Viognier.

Why is this the right wine choice? Viognier is very good with  fish and seafood. Beware though, it’s unhappy with strongly flavoured fish so avoid mackerel, snoek, sardines and marlin.

Bass with brussel sprouts

To serve 4 you will need:

  • Four 6- to 7-ounce wild striped bass or grouper fillets, with skin
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 3-ounce piece of pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
  • 2 large thyme sprigs, plus 4 small sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sweet paprika, for garnish

For excellent fresh fish in Cape Town contact Julie Carter from Ocean Jewels on 083 5820829 or

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until golden and some of the fat has been rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, cut sides down, and the large thyme sprigs. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until the brussels sprouts start to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the bottom third of the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, until the brussels sprouts are tender and browned all over; discard the thyme sprigs.
  3. Meanwhile, in another large ovenproof skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Make 3 shallow slashes in the skin of each bass fillet to prevent curling. Season the bass with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn the fillets, transfer the skillet to the upper third of the oven and roast for about 4 minutes, until the fish is just white throughout.
  4. Transfer the bass to plates, season lightly with paprika and garnish with the small thyme springs. Spoon the brussels sprouts alongside and serve right away with the garlic aioli.


Make Ahead The garlic aioli can be refrigerated overnight.


Adapted from Food and


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