Sea Bass in Lemon Sauce with Cuttlefish and Clams

Credit: Didier Loire
Ingredients (8 people)

Fish Consommé



Step 1: Sea Bass

Scale and clean the sea bass, removing the head and tail. Cut away the fillets from the central bone. Take out the ventral bones, and remove the skin. Finally trim the fillets, so as to be left with very white pieces.

Cut into 8 steaks, 5 1/2 ounces (160 g) each, from the meatiest part of the fillets. Coat the fillets with olive oil, and season with fleur de sel. Protect both sides with parchment paper and cook over a very low heat in order not to brown. Finish cooking in a very low oven to avoid browning the fish.

Step 2: Fish Consommé

Open the calf’s foot, blanch in salted water and cool.

Cook the calf’s foot with the vegetables, diced into a mirepoix, in 2 quarts (2 liters) of water. Bring to a boil, skim, and cover with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the top of the pot. Simmer for 3 hours and strain the clear liquid.

Clean the bass head of the gills and bloody parts. Pour 7 ounces (200 g) of the liquid into a pot with the light chicken stock. Remove any impurities, and add the white pepper and the thyme. Cover with a piece of parchment paper cut out to fit the top of the pot. Simmer for 1 hour, strain through a cloth and cool in a flash freezer.

Just before serving, reduce the consommé, thicken with a bit of butter and infuse with 1 lemon slice, the cardamom, crushed black pepper, fresh fennel, capers and the Espelette pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes and strain the sauce through a fine-meshed chinois. Season with some lemon juice and salt.

Step 3: Cuttlefish

Slice the cuttlefish meat lengthwise in order to form long rectangles. Score lengthwise to tenderize.

Sear over a high heat in a flat sauté pan, removing it quickly to avoid overcooking. Slice the calamari finely to obtain very thin strips, and season with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper.

Step 4: Clams

Cook the littleneck clams on a grill to open them, saving the drippings. Strain and cool them. Leave the littleneck clams in their shells.

Remove the thickest lettuce leaves. Reduce the drippings.

Heat the littleneck clams in the hot fish consommé, adding the capers, lettuce leaves, lemon balm leaves and the cuttlefish.

Step 5: Plating

Place the seafood on the plates. Top with sauce, and arrange the sea bass in the center. Serve immediately.

This recipe was originally published in "Culinary Encyclopedia by Alain Ducasse" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits