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Sea Bass with Fennel and Saffron Sauce


Situated in Slovenia’s beautiful capital city, Ljubljana, the romantic Spajza restaurant occupies multiple antique-filled rooms in a house built in 1847. Overseen by brother and sister team Erik and Petra Sorbara, Spajza serves traditional Slovenian dishes such as venison alongside fresh seafood from the Adriatic Sea, complemented by an all-Slovenian wine list. Even though the country’s coastline is only 27 miles long, the Mediterranean-accented seafood dishes, such as this easy-to-prepare but delicious sea bass, are among the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

Wine Recommendation: Pair this dish with a Slovenian offering such as the Veliko Belo from Movia or Bela Quela from Klinec, a full bodied blend of Rebula, Chardonnay and Tokaj aged in acacia barrels for 12 months and another 24 months in oak.

~Michael Tulipan

Spajza Restaurant (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Number of Servings
Serves 2
2 sea bass (about 2 pounds)
1 fennel bulb
8 chives
1 cup cream
2 pinches of dried saffron
2 teaspoons butter
Remove the scales from the bass by scraping them with the back of a knife, working from the tail end towards the head. Fillet the fish and dust the fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the fennel thinly and place slices over each fillet. Roll each fillet with the fennel inside and skin outside. Fasten with two chives to hold each roll together. Bake standing up for 10–12 minutes. While the fillet is in the oven, bring cream to a boil, add butter and a pinch of dried saffron. Lower the heat and, stirring constantly, cook for another minute or two, until it turns orange. When the fillet is served, pour saffron sauce over it. The restaurant serves the dish with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.
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