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Carolyn Cerny - Fennel and lentil seabass with salsa verde

Updated: May 21, 2023

Fennel and lentil seabass with salsa verde, deep fried buttermilk fennel and preserved lemon mayo followed by Chocolate Townie with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream and Hot Chocolate sauce

2023 - Keen Home Cook - Runner Up



Preserved Lemon Mayo

2 preserved lemons

Egg yolks

1 clove garlic

Juice ½ lemon

150ml rapeseed oil

Deep Fried Buttermilk Fennel

1 bulb fennel

140ml buttermilk

125g self-raising flour

1tsp garlic granules

½ tsp chilli powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

1 litre rapeseed oil

Fennel and Lentil Seabass with Salsa Verde

2 small bulbs fennel, cut into thin slices

1 unwaxed lemon thinly sliced

4 tbsp olive oil

200g puy lentils

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely diced

2 large sea bass fillets

½ pack flat leaf parsley

½ pack mint

1 garlic clove

½ lemon

750ml hot chicken stock

3 fresh thyme sprigs


Preserved Lemon Mayo

1. Discard the flesh from the lemons and finely chop the rind.

2. Whizz together the egg yolks, garlic and lemon.

3. Slowly pour in the oil until it forms a thick sauce.

Deep Fried Buttermilk Fennel

1. Remove the top and fronts from the fennel and cut the bulb into 0.5cm slices.

2. Pour the buttermilk into a shallow bowl and add the sliced fennel.

3. In a large bowl, mix the flour and herbs and spices.

4. Heat the oil to 180C. Coat the fennel in the seasoned flour and deep fry until golden brown and tender.

Fennel and Lentil Seabass with Salsa Verde

1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6.

2. Make the salsa verde: put the herbs and garlic in a pestle and mortar and pound to a course paste. Stir in the lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil, season and set aside.

3. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and celery. Cook until the onion is beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lentils, then add the thyme and hot stock.

6. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender.

7. Scatter the fennel and lemon slices onto a large baking tray.

8. Season and drizzle with olive oil and roast for 15 minutes.

9. Mix the cooked lentils with 1 tbsp of salsa verde, then stir into the fennel in the baking tray.

10. Sit the sea bass on top of the fennel and lentils and bake for approx. 10-12 minutes.

11. Serve drizzled with the remaining salsa verde.




200g plain flour

125g butter, cubed

1tbsp caster sugar

1 egg

Juice of half a lemon

Brownie filling

90g unsalted butter

150g dark chocolate

½ tsp vanilla extract

175g light moscavado sugar

2 large eggs


2 large eggs

115 plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Hot Chocolate Sauce

100g plain chocolate

170g evaporated milk

Mascarpone cream

125g mascarpone

20ml double cream

2 tbsp icing sugar



1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5 and place a metal baking tray into the oven.

2. Mix the flour and sugar and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Mix the egg and lemon juice together.

4. Add the egg mix to the flour and butter and mix to make a soft dough.

5. Roll and line individual loose bottom tart tins.

6. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

Brownie filling

1. Put 100g chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

2. Once melted, stir in the sugar.

3. Beat the eggs into the mixture, 1 at a time.

4. Stir in the flour and baking powder.

5. Finely chop the remaining 100g chocolate and stir through the chocolate mixture.

6. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and bake for approx. 20 minutes until the pastry case is crisp and the chocolate filling is just set and still gooey in the middle.

Hot chocolate sauce

1. Place the chocolate and evaporated milk in a pan over a low heat until smooth and melted.

Mascarpone cream

1. Put the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar in a large bowl and whip with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff.

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