Roasted Sea Bass with Olive Crushed Potatoes with Fennel Cream Sauce

Michael Caines cooks a glamorous Mediterranean-style dinner, certain to impress guests
By Michael Caines
Roasted Sea Bass with Olive Crushed Potatoes with Fennel Cream Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes plus 6 hours for tomatoes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus 6 hrs for tomatoes
  • Effort: hard


For the confit

  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper

For the sauce

  • 70 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g onions, finely chopped
  • 50 g celery, finely chopped
  • 350 g fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 150 ml fish stock
  • 250 ml cream

For the basil oil

  • 10 g basil
  • 100 g olive oil

For the vinaigrette

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • large sprig thyme, chopped
  • 250 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 ml groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 12 g salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper

For the olive crushed potatoes

  • 30 g butter
  • 200 g new potatoes, peeled, cooked and sliced
  • 10 chopped black olives
  • pinch chopped chives

For the fish

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4x180 g sea bass, skin on
  • squeeze of lemon juice


1. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas ½. Lay the tomatoes on roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil.

2. Scatter over the thyme and season well. Place in the oven for about 6 hours, until dried.

3. To make the sauce, melt half of the butter in a saucepan and fry the onions, celery and fennel for 4-5 minutes over a low heat, until softened but not coloured.

4. Season with a little salt and add the star anise, bay leaf, thyme and a pinch of ground white pepper. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

5. Stir in the fish stock and cream and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the fennel is soft.

6. Using a hand blender, lightly blend the vegetables (but not to a puree) and then push through a fine sieve using a ladle. Repeat the process twice more. Set aside.

7. To make the basil oil, gently warm the oil and add the basil. Leave to cool and infuse.

8. Transfer to a blender and liquidize. Pass the oil through a muslin cloth.

9. Mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette together.

10. Slice the potatoes and place them in a saucepan with enough of the vinaigrette to coat. Warm them over a moderate heat, crushing them with a fork as they heat through.

11. Cook the sea bass. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Score the skin of the fish lightly and season the flesh with salt and pepper.

12. Place the fish, skin side down, into the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for 1 minute more.

13. Reheat the tomatoes.

14. Reheat the fennel sauce in a small pan and stir in the remaining butter.

15. Add the black olives and chives to the crushed potatoes. Season as necessary.

16. Place a metal ring in the center of each of four warmed dinner plates. Spoon an even amount of the crushed potatoes into the ring.

17. Place three confit tomatoes around the ring. Carefully take off the metal ring.

18. Take the sea bass off the heat and squeeze a little lemon juice onto the skin of each fillet. Place the fish, skin side up, on top of the potato.

19. Pour the fennel cream sauce around the potato, drizzle a little basil oil around the sauce to finish and serve.

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