Plaice with salmon and prawn mousse in a creamy white wine sauce.

Perfectly impressive supper dish that can be prepared earlier and finished once guests are seated.

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9oz/250g salmon, skinned and boned

3oz/80g uncooked prawns, peeled and heads removed.

½ lime or lemon, juice only

1 tablespoon fennel, freshly chopped

1  egg, white only

4floz/125ml double cream


6 plaice fillets, skinned, boned and trimmed

1 teaspoon butter

1 tablespoon fennel, freshly chopped

1 large glass white wine

½ lime or lemon, juice only

4floz/125ml   double cream

Mix of aromatics (fennel, bay leaves, parsley, lemon etc.)


Firstly, make the mousse by processing the salmon and then adding the prawns, lime juice, fennel, egg white and seasoning.

Slowly pour the cream in to the food processor as it is mixing to create a smooth and fairly firm mix and chill.

Fillet and skin the fish.

Place each fillet skinned side up on your board.

Place a teaspoonful of the mousse near the tail end and then roll up and secure with a cocktail stick.

Put the fish in a steaming basket.

Fill the steaming pan with sufficient water plus the mix of aromatics.

Steam the fish covered with a lid for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a pan before adding the fennel and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the white wine and lime juice and simmer to reduce by half.

Add the cream and seasoning and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken.

Place each fillet of fish on the serving plate, having removed the cocktail sticks, and serve with the sauce and vegetables.

My Tips:

Filleting and skinning plaice with no sight isn’t impossible.  Firstly, remove the head and then use scissors to cut away the “skirt” of bony fin along each side of the fish.  At the head end, place the point of your knife in to the flesh and feel for the junction of the backbone with the lateral bones.  Keeping the knife blade in contact with the lateral bones, gently cut away until you reach the edge of the fish and continue down the full length.  Return the knife to the head end and cut away the thin flesh on top of the backbone and then repeat the knife action across the lateral bones and down the length of the fish.  Turn over and repeat.  Take one fillet and place skin-side down on your board.  Cut through the flesh but not the skin at the tail end where the flesh starts.  Grip the tail tight with one hand and, with the knife blade firm to the board but not cutting through the skin, cut the flesh away from the skin.  Keep the skin tight between the tail and the knife blade.  Sound so easy writing it but takes practice.

Buy the largest fish you can because the bones will be bigger and easier to feel.    And worth asking the fishmonger to clean it by removing the digestive tract etc.

Use two very sharp knives: one short one for most of the filleting and a longer one to complete the skinning.

Have some sticking plasters handy!

Use the fish “frame” (the backbone and lateral bones) for fish stock.  You could even put in to the pot for steaming to start the stock.  Bones from oily fish such as salmon don’t make such good stock.

If you are using frozen salmon or prawns for the mousse, it is likely to be too wet.  You can either use less cream or add fresh plaice scraps to firm it up.

The rolled fish could also be wrapped in cling film, twisting at each end like Christmas crackers, and kept in the fridge until needed but would not gain any flavour from the aromatics.

Any spare mousse could be placed in a food-quality plastic bag and steamed – slice and serve in small cups of hot fish broth.  I have also used this sort of mousse to stuff courgette flowers and then steamed them.

Trimmed asparagus only needs to cook for 5 minutes in boiling water.

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© 2023 - Penny Melville-Brown
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