Heston Blumenthal's sea bass with vanilla butter

Heston Blumenthal's sea bass with vanilla butter.jpg

Heston Blumenthal at Home is a cookbook for foodies, yet the mouthwatering recipes are well-chosen and not as daunting as you might think. This sea bass with vanilla butter is one of the easiest but delivers unbelievable flavour.

The fish fillets are so thin that they cook very quickly. If you have a digital timer with an alarm, I recommend that you use it to ensure they don’t overcook.

The vanilla butter is excellent with grilled or fried fish. Don’t discard the vanilla pods after adding the seeds to the burner – you can use them as a flavouring for sugar or oil.

Servings: 4

Sea bass fillets

  • Groundnut (peanut) or grapeseed oil
  • 4 Mediterranean sea bass fillets, skin on
  • Salt

Vanilla butter

  • 3 vanilla pods
  • 125 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature


To make vanilla butter, halve the vanilla pods lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds.

Mix the butter with the vanilla seeds, using a hand blender.

Roll into a log and wrap in parchment paper or place in a bowl. Keep in the fridge until required (for up to a week), or freeze for a month.


To make the fish, cover the bottom of a frying pan with a thin layer of oil, and heat over a high heat until extremely hot.

Season both sides of fish with salt and place skin-side down in the hot pan to crisp for 90 seconds. Place a lightweight object such as a ramekin on top of the fish to keep it from curling as it cooks. Flip the fish over for a further 60 seconds and remove the fillets from the pan straight onto the serving plates.

Place 10 g (1 tbsp) of vanilla butter on top of each fillet. As the butter melts, spoon it over the fillets to coat.