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River Cottage's Steam-Braised Sea Bass with Thyme and Lemon 

The River Cottage Fish Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 
and Nick Fisher / Serious Eats

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon white wine

A squeeze of lemon juice

2 strips of finely pared lemon zest

2 sprigs of thyme

2 or 3 bay leaves

½ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

1 small garlic clove, finely sliced (optional)

1 ½ to 2 ¼ pounds black sea bass, pollock, or cod fillet, cut into ¾ to 1 ¼-inch thick medallions

Salt and freshly ground black pepper



Put the olive oil, butter, and white wine in a large, wide saucepan or a deep frying pan along with a tablespoon of water, the lemon juice, zest, thyme, and bay – and the fennel seeds and garlic, if you’re using them. Bring to a simmer. Season the fish medallions lightly with salt and pepper, then arrange them in the pan in a single layer.


Cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, turning them once, very carefully, so they don’t break up. That’s it. All you need do now is transfer the fish to warmed plates and spoon over the juices. Boiled spuds or mashed potatoes and something fresh and green – broccoli, perhaps, or spring greens – are the only accompaniments you need.

Serves 4

Printable version

Original recipe

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