Fillet the fish if necessary and remove the pin bones using fish tweezers.
Heat a frying pan until hot and add the sunflower oil. Season the fish with Maldon sea salt.
Fry the bass skin side down until golden brown and crispy. Turn the fish over, remove the pan from the heat and finish cooking the fish in the residual heat.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the samphire in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in iced water to retain the colour.
Peel the shallots and cut in half length ways.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Cook the shallots in the butter until golden, then add the thyme and the sugar. When the sugar has melted, deglaze pan with the vinegar. Cover the pan with a piece of baking paper and leave the shallots to cook over a low heat until soft and sticky. Add a splash of water from time to time if necessary.
Segment one lemon by removing the skin and then cutting in between the membrane with a long thin knife.
To preserve the other lemon, cut it into slices, making sure all the pips are removed. Boil with the salt, sugar and water until tender and the bitterness has gone.
Reheat the samphire in butter and place a small pile in the middle of a plate. Place the sea bass neatly on top.
Place the preserved lemons, shallots, and lemon segments around the middle intermittently.
Drizzle with olive oil and the cooking liquor from the shallots.
«If you cannot get hold of samphire you can also use savoy cabbage or other seasonal greens.»
Crisp sea bass fillet with salty samphire, rich braised shallots and preserved lemons.