Sea bass in oyster juice and champagne sauce

11 September 2006
Sea bass in oyster juice and champagne sauce

This dish must be the "Rolls-Royce" of fish dishes says Burton-Race. "Yes it is expensive to combine three such ingredients together." Don't be put off by this though as it's execution is quite simple.


(serves six)

795g sea bass (filleted but skin on)
12 oysters
3 leeks
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 bunch of chervil
228ml fish stock
114ml of dry Champagne
56ml double cream
112g unsalted butter
2 cloves of peeled garlic
Salt and pepper
1 sprig of blanched tarragon


Wash and open the oysters. Pour into a bowl being careful not to break the shell into their juices.

Wash and trim the leeks and dice them into ½in pieces. Remove the inner silver leaves as they are always tough and taste unpleasant.

Blanch leeks in salted water over a vigorous flame for three minutes. Strain and refresh in cold water. When cold strain again and leave to one side to be used to finish the dish.

Core tomatoes and make a small cross at the top of them just nicking the skin.

Blanch for 10 seconds only and peel from the top of the cross. Remove seeds and pulp and dice them into ¼in pieces. Reserve.

Wash dry and chop the chervil leaves. Reserve. Cut the sea bass into six equal pieces and season.

Pour all but a small ladle of the prepared fish stock into a shallow pan with one of the cloves of garlic cut into two and the blanched tarragon and bring to the boil.

Place the sea bass into the pan flesh-side down cover with a butter paper and then a lid. Cook for five minutes in a moderate oven.

In another shallow pan pour the remainder of the fish stock and add the other clove of garlic and half the butter. Boil reduce and thicken. Then add diced leeks and chervil. Season.

Once leeks have taken up all the liquid they are ready. Reserve.

Warm the diced tomato in a little oyster juice butter salt and pepper. Remove the sea bass from the oven and with a fish slice place the fish skin-side up in the centre of each serving plate. Keep warm.

Return the fish juices to the stove and reduce by half. Quickly chop the oysters and add them to the reduced fish stock. Whisk thoroughly.

To thicken the sauce: dice remaining butter and whisk in piece by piece until dissolved.

Reheat the diced leek. Carefully peel off the skin from each piece of fish.

Top the bass with a heaped spoon of the leeks in chervil. Decorate plates with the diced tomatoes.

Finally pour the Champagne into the sauce. While it is still foaming carefully strain the sauce onto the plates.

"This sauce has a fantastic and unusual texture " enthuses Burton-Race. "Although cream is used for the leeks there is no cream in the sauce!"

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