Whole sea bass with fennel, radicchio, leek and anchovy sauce

Served with an interesting combination of vegetables, Theo Randall's herb-flavoured fish would make a perfect main for a dinner party
By Theo Randall
Whole sea bass with fennel, radicchio, leek and anchovy sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 5 mins resting
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 1 x 1 kg whole sea bass, (see Cook's note below)
  • 2-3 sprigs marjoram
  • 2 tbsp finely choppedleaves rosemary
  • 2 heads fennel, outer leaves removed, feathery tops removed and reserved
  • 4 small leeks, white part only, quartered lengthways
  • 1 heads radicchio, outer leaves removed, sliced into wedges with stalk intact

For the vinaigrette

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped marjoram

For the anchovy sauce

  • 6 tinned tinned anchovies, drained
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 6 tbsp olive oil

Tips and Suggestions

Line-caught sea bass is a more sustainable choice than fish caught by either trawl or fixed nets. Choose fish which has been sustainably caught by hand-line methods: identified by a tag in its gill. Ask your fishmonger to scale and clean it for you.

Method

1. For the vinaigrette: combine the olive oil, lemon juice and marjoram in a small bowl, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and whisk until amalgamated.

2. For the anchovy sauce: in a pestle and mortar, pound the anchovy fillets until smooth, add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix thoroughly to form a sauce. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

3. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the leeks and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the radicchio wedges, cook for a further 2 minutes, then drain thoroughly.

4. Pour the vinaigrette over the drained vegetables and toss to coat completely.

5. Sprinkle the stomach cavity of the fish with a little salt. Stuff the cavity with the marjoram, rosemary and reserved fennel tops.

6. Heat a griddle pan and, when hot, add the fish and cook for about 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through, turning it carefully. Remove the fish from the heat once it is cooked on both sides and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

7. Slice the fennel bulbs crossways into 1cm-thick slices, separate into rings and put on a hot griddle pan. Cook until the slices look slightly charred, then remove and add to the radicchio and leeks.

8. To serve, put the fish on a serving plate, surround it with the dressed vegetables and pour over the anchovy sauce.

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