Sea Bass, Braised Celery, Black Grape Sauce

Sea Bass, Braised Celery, Black Grape Sauce

Sea Bass, Braised Celery, Black grape sauce

This is a simple dish, making the best of each ingredient. How many of us buy celery for a ragu and then have twice as much languishing about in the larder for two weeks? Guilty! One great use of it is in a creamy salad like this blue cheese and walnut one. Alternatively I found this way of treating it like a lot of woody vegetables and braised it. On its own it was still quite bland, but eaten together with the sauce and roasted hazelnuts, it was quite stunning. I can’t recommend you try it enough. The black grape sauce sounds fancy buts it is nothing more than a darker red wine sauce. Just started from source with the black grapes rather than wasting wine! It is a lot fruitier than a red wine sauce that would be served with meat. Don’t think of it in those terms!


It’s very rare I ever go off piste from cooking, but feel obliged to share a couple of things from last week with you. Firstly, these crocuses which came up in the garden last week. To the day, exactly the same time as last year. I find that kind of freaky, but they are so pretty. I wonder if i can eat them?


Secondly, we were very lucky to get tickets to one of Adeles first gigs last week. She’s doing 104 shows, I think ours was number five. Good luck to her. She was brilliant, completely hilarious too. If anyone wants to go or is going its a great nights entertainment. So nice to see an amazing voice at it’s best, no distractions.

Adele tour 2016


  • 1 Fillet/person Sea Bass
  • 1 root/person Celery
  • 2/person Scallops
  • 50g Roasted Hazelnuts
  • Sauce

  • 1 Red onion
  • 300g Black Grapes
  • 100ml Port
  • 50g Butter
  • 4/5 Stalks. Thyme


  1. Make the sauce by softening the onion in some butter. Add the port and grapes, then simmer for 30minutes until reduced by half. Blitz to a puree and sieve out any remaining skins.
  2. For the celery, trim in half and cut three inches long. Add 200ml water, thyme, butter and a splash of white wine and a good pinch of salt. Simmer and cover with a cartouche for 30mins, letting the sauce reduce and emulsify.
  3. When ready to serve, fry the sea bass-skin side down- for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and flip the fish over followed by a squeeze of lemon. In a separate pan, cook the scallops on a high heat for 1 minute a side.


  1. Another beautiful dish! I love the grapes, port and thyme mixture! I would surely love your sauce!

  2. Wow Dave! This dish is a stunner. Bright bold and beautiful colors and simple flavors for a very delicious dish. I love those bright purple crocuses. I have no idea if those are edible or not but would look beautiful on your dinner table in a bowl of water.

  3. Hey Dave!
    Great dish as usual. The sauce on it or rather under it, is just gorgeous.
    Love the crocuses too, so beautiful and a sign of springtime!

    Hope you’re doing well and feeling better on your GF diet.


    • Dave Crichton

      Hi Nazneen

      Good to hear from you. GF and lactose free is going OK.

      Just hope the rest of the garden blooms as well as the crocuses.

  4. I believe you said it was for your anniversary? If so, then Happy Anniversary! I’d love to go see Adele but the tickets are outrageously expensive and I simply cannot justify it!
    This dish looks and sounds delicious and such a clever way to use black grapes.
    For those veg that don’t find their way to a recipe, I keep a bag in the freezer and when I have filled one or two bags, I create a vegetable stock (my compost broth blog post!). It really is a lovely flavoured broth.
    Those flowers look like crocus, but I wouldn’t chance eating them, apparently there are over 90 varieties, going from edible to highly poisonous.

    • Dave Crichton

      Hi Eva

      What a memory you have! We were very lucky to get tickets for the show.

      Your veg stockpot stock was genius. I’m going to start filling a freezer bag tonight!

      • Eva Taylor

        Hi David, I’m so very happy that you liked the vegetable stock! I made a pot on the weekend and we’re still sipping on it! Another tip: I asked my butcher if he had some chicken carcasses left over from deboned chicken breasts, and he did, for a bargain too! These bones make a decent stock! I got a bag of them about 4 kg for $9 (£4.86) (free range, organic) which will work out to about 10 L of stock (plus some chicken bits for chicken noodle soup!)

  5. You never cease to amaze me with your inventive dishes. How nice to have those beautiful crocus blooming in your yard. I’m rather envious of your evening listening to Adele, I’m sure it was a wonderful event.

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