“….Or the lobsters we bought at Cape Split Harbour, Maine. There was a noticeboard in the shack on the jetty and, pinned to it, a card on which a widow thanked her husband’s friends for their contributions, and prayed, prayed to the Lord, that they lashed themselves to the boat when hauling in the pots.”

-Bruce Chatwin, A Coup, in Granta 10: spring 1984


Following this month’s German theme, this is a recipe for sea bass fillets (or any white fish fillets) with cream, brandy and lobster.

I know lobster is usually expensive, but these days you can get it quite reasonably from Iceland. If you know someone who is REALLY keen on lobster you might want to buy them a pair of these wonderful earrings by Lydia Courteille

NB massive cheat: instead of the last four ingredients substitute a tub or tin of lobster bisque. (reduce a little first to thicken). As it suggests on the label of Heston from Waitrose’s lobster bisque,

“froth this with a hand blender to make a proper lobstercino”

Personally, I would use my cappuccino whisk. Garnish with a cooked prawn for a bit of flair. Here’s the recipe:


Recipe for sea bass fillets with cream, brandy and lobster

Serves 4


  • 4 substantial fish fillets
  • 1 banana shallot – finely chopped
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 360 ml/1½ cups – or a little more of double cream
  • 2 tbsps brandy
  • salt and white pepper
  • small lobster, or about 250g/8 oz cooked lobster meat


  1. Fry the fillets in the oil, about three minutes on each side (or a bit more if they are thick). You may have to do this in batches if they are big, in the meantime adding the shallot so that all have finished cooking (shallot is transparent) at about the same time.
  2. Take both out and keep warm on a plate.
  3. Pour half the cream into the frying pan, add the brandy and reduce down.
  4. Put the fish and shallot back in the frying pan, pour on the rest of the cream and add the lobster to get it warm.


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That’s quite a hairpiece she has!