Pan-fried sea bass with braised fennel and ginger

Pan-fried sea bass with braised fennel and ginger

By
From
A Year In My Kitchen
Serves
4

This is definitely one of my favourite fish dishes…the delicate taste and texture of sea bass work beautifully with the aniseedy flavour of fennel. Beurre blanc complements all white fish – you could substitute halibut, haddock or cod here if you prefer.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 sea bass fillets
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon very finely chopped parsley, (optional)

Braised fennel

Quantity Ingredient
6 fennel bulbs
250ml dry white wine
375ml see method for ingredients
2-3cm piece very fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchstick slivers
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, roasted and crushed

Beurre blanc

Quantity Ingredient
1-2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
8 black peppercorns
few thyme sprigs
4 tablespoons dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
60ml good quality white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon double cream
250g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes and well chilled
sea salt
freshly ground white pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. First prepare the fennel. Trim and reserve any feathery fronds for garnish. Remove the fibrous outer layer, cut each bulb into quarters and place in a shallow baking tin. Pour over the white wine and stock, then sprinkle with the ginger and fennel seeds. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes until the fennel is soft – it should almost be falling apart.
  2. Meanwhile, make the beurre blanc. Put the shallots, peppercorns, thyme, wine and wine vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and reduce until only 1 or 2 tbsp of liquid remain. Strain the liquid, discarding the flavourings and return to the pan. Reduce the heat to very low and add the cream, then gradually begin adding the butter a couple of cubes at a time, whisking continuously to emulsify and taking care that the sauce does not boil. Continue until all the butter is used and you have a creamy, velvety sauce. Season with a little salt and white pepper.
  3. Keep the beurre blanc warm at the back of the stove or in a bowl over a pan of warm water. (It is a delicate sauce and cannot be reheated, otherwise it will curdle). Remove the fennel from the oven when it is cooked and keep warm.
  4. To cook the fish, generously season the skin side only with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan (use two pans if necessary to avoid overcrowding). When the oil is very hot, lay the fish gently in the pan and cook without turning until the skin is really crisp; this will take about 4 minutes. Place the pan in the oven for 3–4 minutes to finish cooking.
  5. To serve, spoon a little cooked fennel into the centre of each warm plate. Lay the fish fillets, skin side up, on top and spoon over the beurre blanc. Finish with a scattering of chopped fennel fronds or some very finely chopped parsley.
Tags:
seasonal
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