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Poached Whole Sea Bass


  • 2 tbsp salt

  • 3.4 litre/6 pint water

  • 1 x 1.5kg/3lb sea bass, cleaned

  • For the dill and potato salad

  • 750g/1½lb waxy new potatotes, such as Jersey royals, charlotte or pink fir apple, scraped and cut into matchsticks 5mm/¼in thick

  • 75g/3oz mustard mayonnaise

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp chopped dill

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For the dressed herbs

  • small bunch of tarragon, chives, flat-leaf parsley and chervil sprigs

  • few drops of extra virgin olive oil


  • 1.

    Put the salt and water into a fish kettle and bring to the boil. Slip in the fish, allow the water to bubble, then take the kettle off the heat, cover and leave for 15 minutes.

  • 2.

    Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Drain and leave to cool.

  • 3.

    Lift the fish out of the water on to a serving dish and leave to cool.

  • 4.

    Mix the mayonnaise with the shallot, dill and some salt and pepper, then gently fold in the potatoes. Spoon into a shallow serving bowl.

  • 5.

    Place the herb sprigs in another bowl and toss with the olive oil and a little seasoning.

  • 6.

    Take the sea bass to the table together with the two bowls of salad. To serve the fish, run a knife lengthways down the centre between the two fillets and gently ease the flesh away from the bones. Once you can get a palette knife under the fillets, lift them off onto two plates. Then turn the fish over and repeat on the other side.

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