1. To make the crab and chilli spelt, heat the butter in a saucepan, add the shallots and cook gently until soft but not browned – about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaf, thyme leaves, chilli and garlic; cook for 2 minutes more. Add the spelt (or rice) and cook for another 2 minutes, then stir in the brown crab meat. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan.
2. Add the warm stock to the spelt a ladle at a time, stirring continuously, adding more stock once it has been absorbed. Cook until the spelt is just tender – about 15-20 minutes; set aside while you cook the fish.
3. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Pat the sea bass fillets dry on kitchen paper and season. Place the fillets skin-side down in the pan (if they curl up a little, press firmly and they will relax back down). Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until almost cooked through. Add the butter, take the pan off the heat and turn the fish over – the residual heat will cook the fish through while you finish the spelt.
4. Put the spelt back on the heat to warm through, then stir in the cream, chives and white crab meat. It should have a loose texture that settles once stirred, like risotto; add a splash more stock (or water) if it seems too dry. Season, divide between plates or shallow bowls and top with the sea bass.