Sea bass coupled with aromatic lemon, succulent oysters and fresh asparagus. Springtime has never tasted so good.
Place the butter into a bowl, grate lemon zest from one lemon and squeeze out its juice. Add the lemon juice and zest to the butter and season with salt and black pepper. Mix well until thoroughly combined and set aside.
Put the caster sugar with 200ml/7fl oz water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Slice the remaining lemon and add to the syrup. Add the star anise and cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the syrup is glossy and translucent. Leave to cool in the pan.
For the sea bass, roll out cling film onto a board, keeping it flat and tight.
Place a spoonful of the lemon butter onto the cling film, then place a sea bass fillet on top, skin side down.
Add a slice of the confit lemon, followed by another spoonful of lemon butter.
Fold the cling film over the sea bass twice, to form a parcel, and tuck in the edges to make watertight.
Cook the sea bass parcels in a steamer for 9 minutes.
Remove from the steamer and carefully cut open one end of each parcel using a pair of scissors. Pour the juice from the parcels into a saucepan and keep warm.
Meanwhile, snap the bottoms off the asparagus and steam for 5–6 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, pour the juice from the oysters into another saucepan and warm on a medium heat. Whisk in one teaspoon of lemon butter. Do not bring to the boil. Add the oysters to the juice to warm through.
To serve, put the asparagus on the plates and place the sea bass on top. Spoon over the oysters and drizzle over some juice from the fish. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped chives.
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James is joined by chefs Glynn Purnell and Aktar Islam, plus pop star Kian Egan.
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