Braised Fillets of Sea Bass with Sabayon Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:



Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About


shallot, chopped 1 1
sea bass fillets, 6 to 8 oz (150 to 225 g) each 4 4
fish stock or court-bouillon ½ cup 125 ml
white wine ¼ cup 60 ml
egg yolks 2 2
whole butter (optional) or extra-virgin olive oil (optional) or crème fraîche (optional) 1 oz or 2 tbsp or 1 tbsp 30 g or 30 ml or 15 ml
salt and pepper to taste to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C). Place the shallots in the bottom of a straight-sided sauté pan or flameproof oval baking dish. (Use a container that fits the dimensions of the fish fillets as closely as possible or too much liquid will be needed to moisten the fish. The natural flavors of the fish will then be lost, and an inordinate amount of time will be needed to reduce the cooking liquid before it is combined with the egg yolks.) Place the fillets atop the shallots.
  2. Add fish stock and wine until the liquid comes halfway up the sides of the fish fillets. (If you do not use all the liquids called for here, do not worry. It is best to use as little liquid as possible, to concentrate the flavors of the fish and the resulting sauce.)
  3. Heat the fish on top of the stove until the liquid comes to a slow simmer. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.
  4. While the fillets are still slightly underdone, after about 8 minutes of cooking per inch (2.5 cm) of thickness, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a plate. Cover them with aluminum foil to keep warm while preparing the sauce. (They will continue cooking while the sauce is being prepared.)
  5. Strain the fish cooking liquid into a measuring cup. If more than ½ cup (125 milliliters) remains, reduce it on top of the stove to concentrate its flavors.
  6. Transfer the fish cooking liquid to a mixing bowl to cool it more rapidly. (If a large number of these sabayon sauces are being prepared during a restaurant service, it might even be convenient to keep a bowl of ice handy to speed up the cooling.) When the liquid is cool, combine it with the egg yolks in a sloping-sided saucepan.
  7. Heat the mixture over high heat while quickly beating with a sauce whisk.
  8. When the sabayon begins to stiffen and the bottom of the saucepan starts to be visible while whisking, remove the pan from the heat. Continue whisking for about 20 seconds more, to cool the sabayon slightly.
  9. The sabayon can be served as is, or it can be finished with the butter, olive oil, or crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper.