Whole baked plaice with shellfish beurre blanc
Whole baked plaice with shellfish beurre blanc
Course: Main

Paul demonstrated this delicious recipe at BBC Good Food Show Summer 2023. See Paul cooking live in the Big Kitchen at our BBC Good Food Show Winter on Saturday 26 November. BOOK NOW!

This recipe highlights the delicate flavours of the fish, richness of the sauce and freshness of the vegetables. It is a dish that embodies the essence of coastal cuisine and is sure to delight seafood lovers.

Serves: 2
Difficulty: Hard


For the butter sauce 
100g cockles 
100g mussels 
100g clams 
300ml sparkling wine or champagne 
10ml extra virgin olive oil 
1 large long shallot, finely chopped 
1 garlic clove, finely chopped 
1 star anise
inch ground white pepper 
100ml double cream 
100g unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces 
100g smoked butter, chopped into small pieces 
100g mixed seashore vegetables (samphire/sea purslane/mixed seaweed) 
2 oysters (opened and removed from the shell and set aside with their juice) 
½ lemon, zested and juiced 
5g finely chopped chives 
5g chopped chervil 
5g chopped parsley 
1 pinch Cornish sea salt for seasoning  

For the fish 
150g unsalted butter 
1 large plaice (800/900g), cleaned, fins removed and de-gutted 
1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds 
4 sprigs thyme 
Buttered new potatoes, to serve 
Asparagus, to serve 


  1. Start with the butter sauce. Put the cockles, mussels and clams into a hot saucepan with a lid, add a splash of sparkling wine, then put the lid on and steam for 30-40 seconds until all the shells are open. Strain the shellfish, retaining any cooking liquid in a bowl, and pick the meat from the shells, discarding any unopen shells.
  2. Put the olive oil in a large saucepan set over a medium heat, then add the shallots, garlic, star anise and white pepper. Cook for 2 mins, making sure not to colour or burn the shallots.
  3. Add the sparkling wine to the saucepan and reduce until it has almost evaporated, and the shallots are glazed. Pour in the remaining cooking juices from the shellfish and the double cream, then reduce by half.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the unsalted and smoked butter. Whisk to create a thick butter sauce. Reduce the heat to low and fold through the seashore vegetables, cooked shellfish, raw oyster and juice, followed by the lemon zest and juice. Now check the seasoning and add more salt or lemon if needed.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, stir through the chopped fresh herbs and keep warm until you’re ready to serve the fish.
  6. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. For the plaice, put the butter in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the butter has caramelised and gone a nut-brown colour. Strain through a sieve and leave to cool to room temperature.
  7. Season the fish all over with salt and pepper, then brush the fish with the brown butter and put onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. This will help stop the fish from sticking during cooking.
  8. Put the lemon slices all over the fish, followed by the thyme sprigs. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 mins. If you have a food thermometer, the fish should be 45C/50C probed on the bone.
  9. Remove the fish from the oven and baste the brown butter all over it. Remove and discard the lemon and thyme, then put the fish onto a serving plate, ready for the butter sauce to be served on top. Serve alongside buttered new potatoes and asparagus.