Fillet of Wild Sea Bass Tempura with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pancetta Purée

Try Dermot McDonnell's great main course recipe.


  • for the sea bass tempura:
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 250 g fillet sea bass (cut into strips)
  • 2 free-range eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 tblsp cornflour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 75 ml sparkling mineral water/champagne mix
  • sunflower oil for deep frying
  • for the sauce
  • fish stock
  • fresh cream
  • champagne
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • for the roasted butternut squash and pancetta purée:
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 10 strips of panchetta
  • fresh cream
  • salt and pepper


  1. For the Roasted Butternut Squash and Pancetta Purée:
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half and place into a roasting tin.
  3. Cook the squash in a preheated until completely softened and beginning to caramelise on the outside.
  4. Once cooked, allow to cool and scoop the flesh into a blender.
  5. Lay the strips of panchetta onto a roasting tray and place into the oven until they are crispy (be careful not to burn this delicate meat).
  6. Add the crispy panchetta, some fresh cream and the pepper to the blender and blend until a smooth and creamy.
  7. For the Sea Bass Tempura:
  8. Place the flour into a bowl. Roll the sea bass strips in the flour until they have been covered. Shake off the excess flour.
  9. Transfer the remaining flour along with the eggs, spice, cornflour, salt and freshly ground black pepper into a large bowl. Gradually stir in the the sparkling mineral water and Champagne until the mixture has the consistency of single cream. Leave the mixture to rest for ten minutes.
  10. Dip the sea bass strips into the batter and gently shake off the excess mixture.
  11. Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan of sunflower oil until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden when added (CAUTION: Hot oil can ve dangerous. Do not leave unattended).
  12. Add the sea bass strips to the saucepan in batches of two or three and cook for three minutes or until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  13. For the Sauce:
  14. Reduce the fish stock, add the champagne and allow to reduce even more.
  15. Then add the fresh cream and seasoning. Reduce until the sauce has thickened and the flavours and sufficiently intense.
  16. For the Salad:
  17. Place all the salad ingredients together into a clean bowl and mix well.
  18. For the Roasted Butternut Squash and Pancetta Purée:
  19. Once roasted, blend the butternut squash until finely pureed.
  20. Roast the panchetta until crispy, add to the blender and puree with the butternut squash until the blend is creamy and consistent.
  21. Throughout the process keep adding the fresh cream and seasoning to taste (mostly pepper).


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