Sea Bass Wrapped in Lettuce with Oysters

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

A Feast of Fish

A Feast of Fish

By Ian McAndrew

Published 1989

  • About

With or without oysters this makes a wonderful dish – the lettuce helping to retain the moisture of the bass. As only the larger outer leaves of the lettuce are used, try poaching the hearts cut in half alongside the bass and serve as a garnish. Alternatively, use them to make a little lettuce salad to accompany the meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 X 550 g/ lb sea bass
  • 2 large round lettuces
  • 20 oysters
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 25 g/1 oz shallots, finely chopped
  • 300 ml/½ pint fish stock
  • 175 ml/6 fl oz dry white wine
  • 85 ml/3 fl oz double cream
  • 175 g/6 oz unsalted butter

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

    Scale and fillet the bass. Remove the few small bones that run from the head to halfway down the length of each fillet using a pair of pliers. Skin each fillet.

    Discard the very outer leaves of the lettuces and remove the larger leaves so that only the hearts are left. Wash the leaves well, then plunge them into boiling water for a minute to blanch. Refresh in iced water and drain.

    Open all of the oysters over a bowl to catch the juices and remove them from their shells; be sure to reserve any juice there may be. Reserve 8 whole oysters and cut the rest into 5 mm/¼-inch dice.

    Remove the central rib from each lettuce leaf, season the fillets and wrap them in the lettuce; it will take three or four leaves to wrap each fillet. Lightly butter a shallow ovenproof pan or tray and sprinkle with the shallots. Lay the fillets of fish in the pan, add the fish stock and the white wine and cover with buttered paper or foil. Set the tray over a high heat until the liquid just starts to tremble, then transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. When cooked, drain the fish from the stock, cover and keep warm.

    Return the stock to a high heat. Strain any juice from the oysters through muslin into the stock and return to the boil. Add the whole oysters and simmer for 30 seconds, then remove the oysters and keep warm with the fish. Reduce the stock until syrupy, then add the cream and bring back to the boil.