Chef's Table

Halibut with bouillabaisse, shellfish and a herb crust

Halibut with bouillabaisse, shellfish & a herb crust

Serves: 4
2 hours
2 hours

For the Fish:

  • 4 fillets of halibut
  • 30g water
  • 25g lemon juice
  • 40g finely diced cold butter
  • 10g vegetable oil

For the Seafood Mixture:

  • 100g white crabmeat
  • 100g brown crabmeat
  • 50g cooked clams
  • 1 lobster tail, chopped

For the Herb Crust:

  • 160g fresh white bread crumbs, crusts removed
  • 80g Gruyère
  • 60g chopped parsley
  • 10g chopped thyme
  • 110g soft butter
  • salt

For the Bouillabaisse

  • bones from 4 bream
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 head of celery
  • 2 leeks
  • 150g tomato puree
  • 500g chopped plum tomatoes
  • 5 strips of orange zest
  • 1/2 bunch of basil
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 2g saffron
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • 2 tbsp herbes de Provence or mixed herbs
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1/4 bottle red port
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150ml Noilly Prat
  • 100ml brandy
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds

For the Tomato garnish

  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 4 sunblush tomatoes

At only 27 years old, executive chef John Rogers is making a real impression at Rosemary Shrager's Cookery School in Tunbridge Wells. Here he shares inspiring recipes sure to impress even the foodiest of friends...

For the Fish

  1. Place the oil into a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Place the fish skin side down. The fish will curl up slightly, leave the fish to relax and flatten.
  2. Once this has happened press on the fish for 5-10 seconds to make sure the fish is in full contact with the pan. When you are happy the skin is crisp, golden and even, remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Add butter, water, salt and lemon juice to the pan and turn the fish over. Swirl the pan to emulsify the liquids. Do not put back on the heat.
  4. If the fish is thin, it will take less than a minute to finish. If the fish is thicker, baste with a spoon until you're happy.
  5. Once the fish is cooked, place a large spoonful of the crab mixture onto the halibut and place under the grill for 1 minute to warm through.
  6. Place a square of herb crust (recipe below) over the top and grill for 20 seconds.
  7. Serve with a few spoonfuls of bouillabaisse and tomato garnish (recipes below).

Herb crust

  1. Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Place between 2 sheets of silicone paper and spread thinly as possible.
  3. Freeze on a flat tray and cut from frozen as needed.


  1. Roughly chop all the vegetables and sweat until soft, add the tomato puree and cook to a 'jam'.
  2. Add the brandy and flambée.
  3. Add the rest of the alcohol, bring to the boil, then put in the plum tomatoes and bream bones.
  4. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then add the herbes de Provence, star anise, bay leaves, fennel seeds and half of the garlic.
  5. Simmer for 45 minutes then add the saffron, fresh herbs, orange zest and the rest of the garlic. Cover the pan and leave off the heat for 45 minutes.
  6. Blend and pass through a fine chinois (a conical sieve with a fine mesh).
  7. Reduce by half for a rich, intense sauce. Or, alternatively, do not reduce and serve as a classic French soup.

Tomato Garnish

  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Place a slice of garlic on each tomato half. Season with salt and place in an oven at 65C and cook for 2 hours.

Photographs: David Merewether