Chef's Recipes

Whole sea bream with herb butter

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for whole sea bream with herb butter by Neil Perry

By Neil Perry
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus chilling
Whole sea bream with herb butter
Whole sea bream with herb butter

"The herb butter really seeps into the fish and gives this classic dish a little bit more complexity without dominating the natural flavours of the bream." - Neil Perry


  • 4 whole sea bream, cleaned (450gm each)
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
Herb butter
  • ¾ cup (loosely packed) baby spinach leaves
  • 1 bunch each of tarragon and chervil, leaves picked
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled and finely grated (55gm)
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 3 tsp salted baby capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cornichons, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ clove of garlic, crushed
  • 125 gm unsalted butter, chopped, softened
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped


  • 1
    For herb butter, blanch spinach, tarragon and chervil in boiling salted water for 5 seconds, drain and refresh in iced water. Squeeze out excess water thoroughly, then coarsely chop. Transfer to a blender and process with remaining ingredients, except butter and parsley, to form a paste. Add butter and pulse to combine. Pass through a coarse sieve, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and add parsley. Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper, roll into a log and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm. When firm, cut 4 discs of butter and bring to room temperature. Refrigerate remaining butter for another use.
  • 2
    Preheat a chargrill over high heat. Drizzle fish with oil, season with sea salt and score both sides in a crisscross pattern. Cook for 4 minutes, turn and cook for another 3 minutes or until flesh gives under light finger pressure. Rest, covered with foil for 2 minutes, then serve with herb butter, a drizzle of oil, lemon cheeks and <a href="handcut_chips.htm">hand-cut chips</a>.
  • Author: Neil Perry