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Simon Hulstone's Sea Bass with Prawn Tortellini

This dish is not for the faint hearted and the final stages of this recipe may require an extra hand. Commitment will be rewarded by a sublime dish which sums up the brilliance of contemporary British cooking.
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  1. 1

    For the tortellini, place the flour into a food processor, pulse and add the eggs and yolks, one by one. Stop processing as soon as the mix comes together, you might not need all the eggs, and if you accidently add too much, thicken with a little flour.

  2. 2

    Tip the mix out onto a floured surface, knead for 3-5 minutes or until smooth. Divide in half, wrap in cling film and allow to chill in the fridge.

  3. 3

    For the tortellini mix, place the pieces of prawn into a bowl and add the breadcrumbs. Add the cream and mix until well-blended. Season with salt and a dash of lemon juice. Shape the mix with your hands into 8 small balls and refrigerate until required.

  4. 4

    Roll the pasta dough through a pasta machine, starting from the widest setting, and gradually going down the settings so that the arrow is between 0 and 1. Repeat the rolling process on the last setting to ensure there is a consistent finish to the thickness of the dough. The pasta should be dry, but with no cracks and slightly elastic.

  5. 5

    Cut 8 circles of the pasta using a 7cm pastry cutter. Use a pastry brush to coat the edge of the circles with egg wash, so that the tortellini will seal. Place a ball of the prawn filling into the centre of each round. Enclose by folding each round of pasta in half to form a semi-circle, use your thumb and forefinger to force out any air and seal the edges.

  6. 6

    Press the straight side of the tortellini on a flat edge to form a base, this will ensure the pasta stands upright when served. Brush with the melted butter and place onto a tray lined with baking parchment. Set aside in the fridge to chill.

  7. 7

    For the fennel purée, place a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the butter and fennel to the pan and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the milk and cream, increase the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until the fennel is soft.

  8. 8

    Remove the pan from the heat. Strain off the liquid and reserve. Place the fennel into a blender with enough cooking liquid to cover and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve, add more liquid to ensure the finished purée is smooth but holds firm.

  9. 9

    Bring a medium sized pot of water to the boil. Once the baby leeks are washed, trim off the roots but make sure you keep the base of the leeks intact. Cut 3cm off the top of the leek and cut each leek in half.

  10. 10

    Add a large handful of salt to the boiling water and drop in the baby leeks for 30-45 seconds. Remove from the water and plunge into a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Drain and place on absorbent kitchen towel.

  11. 11

    For the white wine sauce, place the shallot, vinegar and white wine in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and reduce to approximately 50ml. Remove the shallot and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Slowly add in the butter, while whisking vigorously.

  12. 12

    When most of the butter has been added, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the last of the butter to achieve the correct consistency - the sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.

  13. 13

    For the mushrooms, heat the butter in a small pan over a medium to high heat. Once the butter begins to foam, add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, season with salt to taste and keep warm.

  14. 14

    Preheat the oven to 200˚C/gas mark 6. Bring a pot of water slowly up to the boil.

  15. 15

    For the sea bass, place a large non-stick pan over a medium to high heat, pour in enough rapeseed oil to cover the base. Once the oil is hot, add the sea bass fillets, skin-side down, into the pan (you may need to pan-fry the fish in batches, depending on the size of your pan). Press down the flesh of the fish lightly with a spatula as it cooks, this will ensure the fish cooks evenly.

  16. 16

    After 2-3 minutes, turn the fish over and add a knob of butter and the blanched leeks to the pan, cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and place straight into the oven to roast for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven, season with salt and allow to rest.

  17. 17

    Drop the tortellini into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the pasta is tender but not soggy. Remove the tortellini from the water and toss in a little olive oil.

  18. 18

    To serve, divide the warm fennel purée across 4 plates and place the sea bass fillets on top. Add the tortellini beside the fish along with the warm leeks and mushrooms. Drizzle with the white wine sauce and serve immediately.


  • 250g butter, 30g for the tortellini filling, 20g for the fennel puree, 180g for the white wine sauce, 20g for the garnish
  • 12 king prawns, peeled, cleaned and chopped into small pieces
  • 30g breadcrumbs
  • 150ml double cream, 50ml for the tortellini filling, 100ml for the fennel puree
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 6 eggs, 3 whole for the pasta dough (plus 2 yolks), and 1 lightly beaten for the tortellini filling
  • 2 bulbs fennel, finely sliced
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 1 shallot, peeled but kept whole
  • 25ml white wine vinegar
  • 100ml white wine
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 4 baby leeks, washed
  • 4 sea bass fillets
  • 1 splash rapeseed oil
  • 500g pasta flour

Serves 4

Total time required Total time:

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Recipe shopping list

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Recipe kindly provided by Great British Chefs

Great British Chefs

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