This delicious main course from Will Holland uses a water bath to gently cook sea bass fillets, which he serves with herb gnocchi, confit onions and a delicately balanced horseradish sauce. To flavour the sauce the chef uses sea bass bones – if unable to fillet a whole sea bass, ask your fishmonger to fillet it and reserve the bones for you.
Will Holland's career path was set at age 14, at Bristol's Swallow Hotel under Michael Kitts. After training at college, Holland worked with Michelin-starred chefs at the Homewood Park Hotel and at Gravetye Manor Hotel.
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Preheat a water bath to 80°C
To begin, place the onions in a vacuum bag with the olive oil, salt and sugar. Seal in a chamber sealer and place in the water bath for 4 hours. Set the onions aside and increase the temperature of the water bath to 90°C
5g of sugar
20 baby onions, peeled
50ml of olive oil
5g of salt
Place the bacon in a vacuum bag and seal in a chamber sealer. Cook in the water bath for 1 hour, then plunge into iced water to refresh. Remove the bacon from the bag and cut into 5mm dice
200g of smoked streaky bacon
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
Bake the potatoes for 1 hour, or until tender and cooked through. Whilst still warm, cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh and pass through a fine drum sieve
4 large Maris piper potatoes
Weigh out 150g of the dry mashed potato and place in a mixing bowl with the remaining gnocchi ingredients. Mix until fully combined, then transfer to a piping bag. Cut the piping bag 5cm from the tip
1 pinch of curly parsley
50g of potato flour
50g of egg
20g of egg yolk
2g of salt
1 pinch of dill, chopped
Preheat a water bath to 80°C
Line a work surface with a layer of cling film. Pipe the gnocchi onto the cling film in a long, continuous ‘sausage’, approximately 40cm in length. Roll the cling film around the gnocchi and tie each end. Repeat this process with the remaining gnocchi mix
Poach the gnocchi in a water bath for 10 minutes. Refresh in iced water, then remove the cling film and cut into 2.5cm long pieces. Set aside in the refrigerator until required
For the horseradish cream sauce, heat the oil in saucepan over a high heat. Add the reserved sea bass bones and roast until all of the moisture has evaporated. Add the vegetables and continue to cook until the vegetables have slightly softened
3 garlic cloves, chopped
50ml of vegetable oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce by half. Add the cream, bring to the boil and once boiling point is reached, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the grated horseradish, then pass the finished sauce through a fine sieve
400ml of whipping cream
400ml of white wine
fresh horseradish, finely grated, to taste
Preheat a water bath to 55°C
Place the sea bass fillets in a vacuum bag and seal in a chamber sealer. Cook in the water bath for 15 minutes
600g of sea bass, filleted and cut into 4x140g portions, bones reserved
flaky sea salt
Cut the lettuces into halves, keeping the core intact. Lightly brush with oil and caramelise in a hot pan for 1—2 minutes on each side. Add the butter, stock, confit baby onions, gnocchi and diced bacon. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the lettuce is tender and all of the ingredients are warm
200ml of fish stock
2 baby gem lettuces
50g of butter
Remove the sea bass fillets from the vacuum bag and sear in a hot pan for 30 seconds on each side. Season with sea salt crystals and keep warm
Heat the horseradish sauce to around 70°C and aerate with a hand blender
To serve, place 1 piece of lettuce, 5 pieces of gnocchi, 5 onions and a spoonful of the diced bacon onto each plate. Top with the sea bass fillets and a sprinkling of chopped chives and spoon the sauce generously over each plate. Serve immediately
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