Sea bass, smoked Espelette butter sauce, coco bean cassoulet

  • 6
  • 2 hours 30 minutes plus time for drying the sea bass overnight
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This sea bass recipe from Stu Deeley is served with a simply coco bean cassoulet, and a rich Espelette pepper sauce made with smoked butter. Espelette pepper is a bright red chilli powder made from chillies grown in the Basque region of France. In the restaurant, the fish is also seasoned on both sides with salt before cooking, with a 10 minutes pause before seasoning each side, but this extra salting step is optional.

First published in 2024




Sea bass

Coco bean cassoulet

Smoked Espelette butter sauce



First prepare a 10% salt brine. The amount of brine you need will depend on the size of your container, but this means for each litre of water, add 100g of salt


Add the sea bass to the 10% salt brine and leave for 10 minutes. Wash the sea bass in cold water, then leave on a tray overnight, covered with a cloth, to allow the fish to drain


To make the cocoa bean cassoulet, add all the ingredients to a pan, and season with salt. Bring to 90°C


Transfer to the oven and cook at 90°C for 90 minutes, then set aside


While the beans cook, make the Espelette pepper sauce. Sweat the shallots and garlic down in a pan with a dash of oil. Add the white wine and rice vinegar, and then simmer until it’s reduced to a syrup


Add the double cream, dashi granules, salt and water, then pass the sauce

  • 350ml of double cream
  • 4g of dashi powder
  • 8g of salt
  • 400ml of water

Use a stick blender to emulsify in the smoked butter, unsalted butter, smoked oil and ground Espelette pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then set aside


Once ready to cook the sea bass, heat up a pan with some oil, then add the fish to the pan skin side down. Cook it until it is about 80% of the way done, then add a good amount of butter. Baste the fish briefly in the butter, then flip it and continue basting until it is cooked through


Add a dash of lemon juice to the pan, then remove from the heat


To serve, add a spoonful of beans to each plate, and top with the fish. Warm the sauce, then use a stick blender to it up slightly. Pour the foamed sauce around the beans

Chef Stuart Deeley cooked in some of Birmingham’s best kitchens before making a name for himself as the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2019. Today, he celebrates hearty, unpretentious cooking at his restaurant Smoke.

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