Aromatic Sea Bass en Papillote, with Fennel, Onion and Leek

If you can’t get to the Snooty Fox at the Fern Hill Hotel, bring the restaurant to you with this Aromatic Sea Bass en Papillote, with Fennel, Onion and Leek.

Show off your kitchen skills with this Sea Bass recipe by executive chef Alex Poltera. Using parchment paper, Alex looks in the flavours for a delicious main meal.

If you’re looking for a starter to go along with your sea bass, try this Prawn Bisque recipe.

Sea Bass en Papillote with Fennel, Onion and Leek

Serves 3-4

IngredientsYou will find the aromatic sea bass recipe by executive chef Alex Poltera on the menu at the Snooty Fox at the Fern Hill Hotel

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 25g grated fresh ginger
  • juice of two limes
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 50mℓ soy sauce
  • ½ cup sesame oil
  • one sea bass, about 2kg
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 baby fennel, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced in half lengthways
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • a handful of fresh dill
  • a handful of fresh tarragon
  • ½ cup fish stock
  • salt and ground black pepper


  1. In a bowl, mix together the garlic, chilli, ginger, lime juice, honey, soy sauce and oil. Season with salt.
  2. Ensure the fish is gutted and descaled. Score the fish at angles and rub with the above mixture. Place on a tray, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Fold a large piece of parchment paper lengthways and measure it so that there is about 5cm on either end of the fish when put alongside it. From the middle bottom fold, cut upwards towards the open side of the paper then in again to the folded side to create a large half heart shape. When unfolded, it should resemble a large heart.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C, fan assisted. Place the parchment on a large oven tray. Open the paper and on the one side, place the thinly sliced onions, fennel, lemongrass and leek. Top with some dill and tarragon. Place the fish on top of this, and the remaining dill and tarragon on top of the fish. Season with salt and black pepper and pour over any remaining mixture.
  5. Carefully fold the paper back over the fish and crimp the edges three times over to form a tight seal starting from the large side and working your way to the narrow end. Leave a small gap at the end and pour in the fish stock so that it goes under the fish evenly. Crimp the last little bit nice and tight.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The paper will expand and create a ‘pillow’ due to the steam produced. Carefully open the parcel to serve.

Wine Suggestion: Abingdon Viognier

Executive chef of Fern Hill Hotel Alex Poltera has a number of accolades to his name

Executive chef Alex Poltera worked his way up the ranks at Fern Hill Hotel by starting out washing dishes before running the hotel’s Snooty Fox. Read more about his journey to the top in our Country Chef interview.

Photography Craig Scott

Leigh Hermon

A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life. The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi.

Send this to a friend