Bream Wellington with cauliflower, cucumber and radish

  • medium
  • 2
  • 2 hours plus time for the pastry to rest

This fantastic sea bream Wellington recipe is one for the artistic cooks out there! The bream is filleted and stuffed with a salmon and herb mousse then wrapped in nori and a flaky homemade rough-puff pastry. Served with a cucumber sauce, cauliflower purée, pickled cauliflower and radishes, it's a light yet indulgent dish that is guaranteed to impress. Remember it's easiest to work with pastry whilst cold, especially when creating the fiddly fins and extra details, so work quickly in a cold room or keep returning it to the fridge to chill as you work for the best results.

First published in 2022

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Rough-puff pastry

  • 250g of strong flour, ideally T65 flour
  • 250g of butter, chilled, cubed
  • 4g of sea salt
  • 125g of ice cold water

Wellington

Pickled cucumber

Cauliflower purée

Cucumber butter sauce

Garnish

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Blowtorch
  • Vacuum bag and machine

Method

1

To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl with the sea salt. Add the diced butter and rub in loosely so you can still see chunks of butter. Make a well in the centre, add the water and bring the mixture together so you have a dough. Cover with cling film and rest for 20 minutes in the fridge

  • 250g of strong flour, ideally T65 flour
  • 250g of butter, chilled, cubed
  • 4g of sea salt
  • 125g of ice cold water
2

After 20 minutes, remove from the fridge and roll into a smooth, neat rectangle shape. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length and refold. Rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Repeat this whole process 3 more times to create a flaky rough puff pastry, then cover and reserve in the fridge until needed 

3

Cut off the head and tail of the fish with swift, clean cuts. Remove the eyes and gills from the head and wash it, along with the tail, then set aside. Remove the fillets from the centre bone and skin them. Note you can ask your fishmonger to do all this for you; just make sure they give you all the different bits of the fish to use!

  • 1 bream, gilt head, around 750g, gutted and scaled
4

Place a pan over a medium heat with a dash of oil and add the finely diced vegetables. Cook until soft but without colour (about 8 minutes), then leave to cool

5

Make a salmon mousse by adding the diced salmon and egg white to a blender with a pinch of salt and blitzing until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and place the mixture back into a bowl sat over another bowl of ice. Beat the salmon mixture until shiny, then slowly add the double cream whilst continuously beating to create a smooth and shiny salmon mousse. Season with nutmeg and espelette pepper to taste, then fold through the cooked vegetables and herbs. Transfer to a piping bag

6

Lay one of the fish fillets skin-side down then pipe over an even layer of the mousse around 1cm thick. Top with the second fillet of fish, rebuilding the original shape of the fish. Wrap the fillet ‘sandwich’ in the nori sheets, using a very small amount of water to help it stick it together

7

Divide the pastry into two, then roll out between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper to 3mm thick. Lay out one of the sheets and place the fish in the centre, arranging the head and tail at either end, then brush around the edge with the egg wash. Top with the second sheet of pastry, and push down round the edges to seal, ensuring there are no air bubbles

  • 1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt for egg wash
8

Use a paring knife to cut around the edge, following the shape of the fish and adding in fin shapes. Channel your inner artist and use a cocktail stick to mark in the fish eye, gills and scale shapes into the pastry, then egg wash and place in the fridge to set. After 10 minutes, egg wash again, then a third time after 10 minutes more. Keep the Wellington in the fridge until ready to cook

9

To make the pickled cucumber, peel the cucumber and place the skin into a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blitz until smooth then pass through a sieve to create your pickling liquor. Take the peeled cucumber and cut off 4 1cm-thick slices, then finely dice (brunoise) the rest. Place the slices and brunoise in separate vacuum bags with some of the pickling liquor then seal and set aside for at least 2 hours

10

To make the cauliflower pureé, pour the milk, bonito and dried shrimp into a pan and heat to 80ºC. Leave to infuse for 15 minutes, then pass through a sieve. Place the chopped cauliflower in a pan with the butter, cover with cling film and place over a low heat, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid sticking. Once softened, remove the cling film and cover with the infused milk. Simmer for 5 minutes, then strain, reserving the liquid. Blend the cauliflower, adding the milk back in as needed until you have a good pureé consistency. Season and transfer to a squeezy bottle

11

To make the sauce, place the cucumber juice, ginger, chardonnay vinegar and sea salt into a pan and bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities from the surface. Reduce this to 100ml then add in the double cream and bring back up to a simmer. Whisk in the cold, diced butter piece by piece to create a glossy sauce, then pass through a muslin cloth

12

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Cook the Wellington for 8 minutes then turn down to 185ºC/gas mark 4 1/2 and cook for a further 10 minutes. Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving

13

Cook the romesco cauliflower and the radishes in an emulsion made from two parts water, one part butter and a good pinch of salt, until tender but with a little bite still. Drain the cucumber discs, pat dry and char the tops with a blowtorch. Gently heat the sauce with the roe, caviar, diced pickled cucumber, chopped herbs and finger lime

14

Plate the cucumber, cauliflower and radishes interspersed with dots of cauliflower pureé. Decorate with the sea herbs. Bring the Wellington to the table to carve and serve the heated sauce on the side

  • sea herbs

During his time working under John Williams at The Ritz for almost ten years, Adam Smith fell in love with the complexities of classical cookery. Now a Roux Scholar and executive chef at the Michelin-starred Woven by Adam Smith, at stunning hotel Coworth Park, he puts his own spin on classic combinations that showcase the pinnacle of flavour, technique and plating.

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