A light, fresh dish that is quick to prepare.


  • 15 g (½oz) soft butter
  • 4 x 175g (6oz) portions of hake, grey sea or red mullet, mackerel, turbot, brill or john dory, skin on (scaled if necessary)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • for the watercress butter
  • 75 g (3oz) butter, softened
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
  • 15 g (½oz) chopped watercress (2 generous tbsp)
  • twist of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Place a sheet of baking parchment on the work surface. Mix all the ingredients for the watercress butter together in a bowl.
  2. Form the butter into a sausage shape, then roll up in the paper. Place in the fridge to firm up (or if you need it straight away you can pop it into the freezer to chill). The butter will keep in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  3. When you are ready to cook the fish, place a heavy cast-iron griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat and allow to get very hot. Spread the soft butter on the flesh side of the fish and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish in the hot pan (no extra butter or oil is needed), flesh side down, and cook for 2–4 minutes until golden underneath – the time will depend on the heat of the pan and the fish that you're using. Turn the fish over and cook for a further couple of minutes until just cooked through.
  4. Place the fish on warm plates and top with a slice of the watercress butter, which will slowly melt over the fish. Serve with a green salad.