Image by Paul Johnston, Copper Mango.
Fish is an ingredient that should be celebrated. Investing in good quality sea bass is a real treat and therefore should be used in an exceptional dish. Here I am sharing my recipe for pan roasted sea bass, caviar beurre blanc and mussel spring rolls. It works really well for dinner parties as the spring rolls can be made in advance and simply fried when you are ready to plate up. Of course, for an ‘everyday’ kind of meal, you could simply cook the sea bass as per the recipe and make the beurre blanc forgoing the caviar but you may have noticed that I like to shake things up a little bit and the idea of a dish containing mussels, sea bass and caviar was too good to resist!
For the sea bass:
- Heat a non-stick pan until almost smoking hot.
- Add the rapeseed oil.
- Place the sea bass skin side down in the pan and lower the heat.
- Cook the sea bass slowly on its skin side until it is cooked halfway up the fish.
- Add a sprinkle of salt, the butter and lemon juice.
- Take the pan off the heat, turn the fish over and allow it to finish cooking in the residual heat.
For the beurre blanc:
- In a pan melt 50g of the butter. Add the shallot and sweat till translucent but with no colour.
- Add the white wine and reduce until it has evaporated completely.
- Add the cream and reduce by half. Turn down the heat.
- Slowly add the remaining butter, bit by bit, whisking as you go.
- Once one bit is incorporated add the next piece until all of the butter has been incorporated.
- Stir in the caviar. Add the lemon juice.
- Check for seasoning and add salt as needed but be careful as some caviar can be quite salty.
For the spring rolls:
- Mix together the vegetables, sesame oil, sesame seeds, lemon juice and salt.
- Lay two spring roll wrappers one on top of the other (the extra thickness will prevent the skin from breaking) and position so that the corners are pointing upwards, downwards and to the sides.
- Spoon some the vegetable filling and three mussels into the centre of the wrapper.
- Brush each corner of the wrapper with the egg white, then bring the two opposite corners on the sides together and, keeping your finger on those edges, bring the bottom corner towards the middle and then roll the pastry up tightly towards the top corner.
- Tuck the top edge in and seal with a little egg white.
- Repeat with the remaining spring roll wrappers, mussels and filling.
- Deep fry the spring rolls just before serving.
Plate the dish as per the image. At the restaurant we garnish the plates with nasturtium leaves as the peppery bite that they offer really compliments the fish.