Whole roast whiting with crab and saffron sauce

Nathan Outlaws fish dish makes an impressive main course for a special dinner
Whole roast whiting with crab and saffron sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 50 g sea salt
  • 1 bunches thyme, leaves only
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 4 x 400-500g small whole whiting fish, scaled, gutted and washed
  • olive oil, for basting
  • 1 kg jerusalem artichokes, washed well, but not peeled
  • 1 kg steamed chard, sea spinach, sea beet or other greens, to serve

For the crab stock

  • 1 kg live or frozen shore crab
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 orange, zest and juice only

For the saffron sauce

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar
  • good pinch saffron
  • 250 ml light olive oil
  • crab stock


1. For the crab stock: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

2. Put the crabs onto an oven tray and roast for 45 minutes.

3. Heat a little oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and sweat off the vegetables until tender. Add the orange zest and cook until vegetables are lightly coloured.

4. Add the roasted crabs and the orange juice. Add enough water to cover and simmer for 1 hour.

5. Pass the stock through a sieve and reduce by half in a fresh saucepan. Chill and refrigerate.

6. For the saffron sauce: whisk the egg yolk, vinegar and saffron together, then add the olive oil very gradually to make a mayonnaise. Keep the mayonnaise cold until ready to finish and serve.

7. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

8. In a blender or using a mortar and pestle, blend the salt, lemon zest, garlic and thyme to a paste. With your hands, rub the mixture all over the fish.

9. Curl each fish around so the tail is in its mouth. Secure with a cocktail stick and arrange on the prepared baking sheet with the artichokes. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

10. To finish the saffron sauce, put the mayonnaise into a small saucepan over a very low heat and whisk in the cream. Thin to a pouring consistency with 100ml of the crab stock. Do not allow the sauce to boil.

11. To serve, put some steamed chard on a plate, pour over the saffron sauce, and top with the cooked whiting and thickly sliced Jerusalem artichokes.

Rate This Recipe