Seasonal Recipe of the Week – Fillet of sea bass with scarlet elf cup, wild garlic and spring herbs

28 August 2012
Seasonal Recipe of the Week – Fillet of sea bass with scarlet elf cup, wild garlic and spring herbs

(Serves 4)
60g butter
120ml herb-scented fish stock
200g white wine
150g cream
200ml fish stock
4 portions of sea bass
40ml olive oil
30-40 scarlet elf cup mushrooms
200g wild garlic plus small blades for garnish
70g nettles
8-12 sprigs ground elder
8-12 sprigs bittercress
8-12 sprigs watercress
3 shallots, finely diced
Salt and pepper

Make a basic fish stock out of the sea bass bones and trimmings, celery, fennel, leek, onions, peppercorns, herb trimmings and dry white wine.

For the sauce Fry the shallots in a knob of butter until translucent, deglaze with the wine and reduce to syrup. Then add fish stock, reduce by half and add the cream. Simmer this for 3 minutes and remove from the heat. Now transfer the cream-based sauce to a blender, add 140g of wild garlic and blend until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve. If you are not using it straight away, cool it down as fast as you can, keeping the bright green colour.

Plating Fry off the elf cups in a little butter. Wilt the rest of the garlic in butter and the nettles too in a different pan. Pan-fry the bass in olive oil, skin side down until golden brown. Turn over and fry for a few seconds on the other side before removing to a jiffy cloth alongside the garlic, nettles and elf cup. The fish is now slightly undercooked. Warm the sauce.

Arrange the garlic and nettles around the middle of the warm plates and put the fish on top, with a little garlic and nettles a bit over too. Gently toss the cress and ground elder in drips of olive oil, ever so slightly season and arrange around the plate artistically with the mushrooms and drizzle the sauce around.

Fillet of Sea bass
Fillet of Sea bass

Gary Goldie, head chef, Ardanaiseig hotel, Argyll

Ronan Sayburn
Ronan Sayburn

With this dish I would go for something special; sea bass is a wonderful full-bodied noble fish and deserves a serious wine. A classic white Burgundy from the Cote d'Or would match perfectly with the cream and fresh herbs. I would go for the more mineral style from Puligny-Montrachet from a 2005 or a 2002 vintage.
Ronan Sayburn MS is director of wine and spirits at Hotel du Vin

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