Will Holland's glorious sea bass recipe combines the fresh flavour of lettuce and cucumber with succulent sea bass and a rich, creamy sauce. This recipe calls for a whole sea bass; take a look at our guide on how to fillet fish before you start, or ask your fishmonger for help if you'd rather.
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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Fillet and pin bone the sea bass, then skin each fillet. Trim the tail ends off the fillets and cut each fillet into two portions, each weighing around 150g. Roughly dice the tail end pieces and weigh out 175g of the diced trimmings, reserving for the mousseline. Chop up the sea bass bones and reserve for the sauce
1 sea bass, 1.5kg in weight
To make the white wine sauce, place the oil in a saucepan and heat before adding the sea bass bones. Roast over a high heat until all of the moisture has evaporated, then add the onion, leek and garlic. Continue to cook until the vegetables have softened slightly
50ml of vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Deglaze the pan with the white wine and allow to reduce in volume by half before adding the cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Pass the finished sauce through a fine sieve
700ml of white wine
700ml of whipping cream
To make the sea bass mousseline, semi-freeze the sea bass trimmings before placing them into a food processor with the egg white. Blend until completely smooth, then add half of the cream and blend for 5 seconds. Mix in the remaining cream and blend for a further 5 seconds - do not over-work the mix at this stage. Add the salt and set aside until needed
30g of egg white
450ml of whipping cream
12g of salt
For the lettuce raviolo, break the lettuce into individual leaves. Bring a pan of water to the boil, plunge the leaves into the pan for a few seconds then immediately refresh in iced water. Pat the leaves dry with some absorbent kitchen paper before spreading 4 of them flat on squares of greaseproof paper. Place a spoonful of the sea bass mousseline onto each lettuce leaf and spread to a thickness of about ½cm. Place another lettuce leaf on top of each one. Place in the fridge until required
1 lettuce, round
Peel both the cucumbers. Spin one of the cucumbers through a Japanese vegetable turner to produce ‘spaghetti’. Split the other cucumber in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Cut into 1–2mm dice
Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat and lightly pan-fry the sea bass fillets in a little oil until golden brown. While the sea bass fillets are frying steam the lettuce ravioli for 2 minutes
Add a little sauce to a small pan with the diced cucumber and dill and gently warm through. Warm the rest of the sauce in a separate pan then foam using a hand blender
1/2 bunch of dill
When ready to serve blanch the baby gem in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, and blanch the cucumber spaghetti in boiling salted water for 10 seconds
2 baby gem lettuces, cut in half lengthways
To plate, put a raviolo on each plate along with a pile of the blanched baby gem and cucumber. Place a piece of fish on top and drape over more of cucumber spaghetti. Finish with the foam and spoonfuls of the warm sauce
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