Making It: Sea Bass & Champagne Sauce

Boundary’s Frederick Forster, one of London’s hottest young chefs, serves up a summertime fish recipe that will have dinner guests hooked. RECIPE BELOW

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 x shallot, finely sliced
250ml white wine
250ml double cream
50ml champagne or sparkling wine
4 x portions of sea bass fillet, about 120g each, with skin (ask your fishmonger to reserve the bones for you)
2 x celery sticks, halved
1 x leek, trimmed and halved
8–10 x baby leeks, topped and tailed
1 tablespoon butter, plus 1 teaspoon
200g spinach
2 x tbsp vegetable oil
1 x tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
8 x oysters, shucked (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Place the shallot and wine in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Bubble until reduced by half, then add the cream. Reduce by half again, then strain the sauce through a fine sieve. Return the sauce to the pan and bring back to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until thickened. Stir in the champagne then remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.

Place the fish bones in a pan with the celery and leek. Cover with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface of any foam that rises. Strain the stock then return to the pan and keep warm over a low heat.

Meanwhile, blanch the baby leeks in boiling salted water for three to four minutes, until just tender, then drain and refresh in cold water and set aside.

Melt the tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, then add the spinach, with seasoning, and cook until wilted.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, season the fillets on both sides and place in the pan, skin-side down, and fry over a medium heat, until the skin is crisp and golden. Flip the fish over, then add the teaspoon of butter and fry until cooked through. Add a ladleful of the warm fish stock to the pan, then cover the surface of the liquid with a circle of greaseproof paper and a lid. Place the pan in the oven for one minute, then remove from the oven and leave the fish to relax while you bring the final elements of the dish together.

Bring the fish stock back to the boil, then pour off most of the stock into a bowl or storage container, leaving about a tablespoon or so in the pan. Add the blanched leeks and the parsley, stir and heat through. Gently reheat the champagne sauce and the spinach.

To serve, place a sea bass portion on top of a mound of spinach and vegetables with the sauce poured around. Add two oysters per portion, if using.



Written by The Chef Circle

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