Sea Bass with Mushroom and Fennel Duxelle

Swathed in beurre blanc, this sophisticated fish dish is a dinner party classic from Galton Blackiston
By Galton Blackiston
Sea Bass with Mushroom and Fennel Duxelle
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the fennel and mushroom duxelle

  • 1 large bulb fennel, roughly chopped
  • 350 g field mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 275 ml double cream

For the sea bass

  • 2x fresh sea bass, descaled, filleted and pin bones removed
  • olive oil, for brushing

For the buerre blanc

  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 225 g salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp chives, very finely chopped


1. For the fennel and mushroom duxelle: place the fennel, mushrooms and chopped onion in a food processor and blend to a paste.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the mushroom mixture and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Season to taste.

3. Stir in the wine and cream, and continue cooking over a moderate heat. Stir occasionally until the liquid has reduced and been absorbed. The end result should be a fairly thick, but slightly sloppy, sauce. This will take about 20 minutes.

4. For the sea bass: pre-heat the grill to high.

5. Score the skin of the sea bass fillets, being careful not to cut too deeply into the flesh.

6. Season the flesh side of the fish, then put skin side up on a baking tray or grill pan. Brush the scored skin
with olive oil and blow torch until the skin is crisp.

7. Transfer to the pre-heated grill and leave for around 4 minutes or until cooked through.

8. For the beurre blanc: place the shallots, wine vinegar, lemon juice and white wine in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid until you have about 1 tablespoon of liquid.

9. Add the cold water and reduce again to around 1 tablespoon. Turn down to a low heat and slowly whisk in the butter, about 25g at a time. The sauce will emulsify (thicken and lighten in colour).

10. Once all the butter has been added, remove the pan from the heat, then pass the sauce through a sieve into another saucepan. Add the chopped chives.

11. Serve each fillet of bass on a bed of duxelle and drizzle around the butter sauce.

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