Truffle-baked bream


This simple but luxurious dish works well seasoned with fresh chervil or tarragon, as the anise flavour works really well.


  • 2 sea bream fillets, around 150g-200g/5½oz-7oz per fillet, skin on
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp torn basil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150ml/5fl oz lobster bisque (from a tin is fine)
  • 25g/1oz black truffle butter (or unsalted butter plus a splash of truffle oil)
  • handful dried porcini
  • handful chopped fresh chervil or tarragon, or other fresh herbs
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the bread crust


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

  2. Season the flesh side of each bream fillet, then sandwich them together so the skin is on the outside. Put three lemon slices followed by a sprig of rosemary on top. Tie the fish up with two or three pieces of string, then set aside.

  3. For the bread crust, put the flour in a large bowl and season with salt. Slowly mix in enough water to make a soft, malleable dough.

  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan. Once hot add the chopped tomatoes, basil, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes to make a tomato sauce.

  5. Heat a little more oil in a casserole dish. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 1–2 minutes. Pour in the lobster bisque and bring to the boil. Whisk in the truffle butter. Add the porcini.

  6. Bring the sauce back to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Season to taste, stir in the herbs and add the fish – it should not be completely submerged.

  7. Roll out the bread dough and cover the casserole dish until it is sealed. You need plenty of dough overlapping the sides of the casserole. Tuck it through the handles of the casserole to secure it well, then make a small hole in the top to allow the steam to escape

  8. Return the casserole to the heat until you see a plume of steam coming through the hole in the dough. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

  9. Brush the crust generously with the melted butter, then bake for a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle the crust with sea salt and the chopped rosemary. Bake for 2 minutes more, then serve.