Heston from Waitrose Sea Bass Fillets with Samphire & Vanilla Butter

This dish was a find from my recent Ocado love in. I was particularly pleased with it as I had no idea it existed. I certainly hadn’t spotted it on a shelf in any Waitrose, which would suggest that either I didn’t look very hard, or it’s not readily stocked. I’m happy to accept either of these reasons, but ultimately I’m pleased that Ocado came up trumps.

Sea Bass Packet

When Heston from Waitrose first launched it seemed to be embrace the wilder side of Heston, utilising unusual flavours and ingredients, like kombu in a beef pie, mustard ice cream, curry popcorn etc etc. As time has gone on the range has mellowed and diversified and nowadays as long as things taste nice (which generally they do) they get an outing regardless of a wacky take. This is one of those dishes. They’ve basically put some sea bass and samphire in a packet, then thought hold on we could get a couple of extra quid out of this if we stick Heston’s name on and add in some vanilla butter. I’ve seen through their dastardly plan though…. but I bought it all the same and so ultimately Waitrose win.

I heated up some oil and in went the fillets, they took two minutes on each side and after the first side had cooked I looked forward to seeing that lovely crisp skin as the underside cooked. I was disappointed. I’m sure the skin was crisp, but it was also attached the bottom of the frying pan so I wasn’t going to get in on the action. When the fillets were done they were kept warm and topped with the melting vanilla butter whilst the samphire got heated through and in five minutes dinner was served.

Sea Bass cooked

The sea bass was delicious, soft, fresh and perfectly cooked, if the skin was attached it would have sat proudly on any restaurant table. This is surely testimony to how good Heston is at picking which sea bass fillets to put in a pack. The samphire was crunchy, salty and as the packet says it added a “real tang of the sea” it was altogether a delicious plate of food. But then the most Hestony bit came into play in the form of vanilla butter and it went downhill. Heston says “Vanilla butter is a fantastic enhancer of seafood”, I say it was a bit too sweet and didn’t really enhance things all that much. I wouldn’t say I minded it being there, but if I’d just had some normal butter, or a herby butter I might have enjoyed it a little bit more.

This was a really tasty dish and I would heartily recommend you give it a go, but you might not need Heston’s help to do so. Save yourself some money, buy some sea bass, buy some samphire and cook yourself some dinner.

Heston from Waitrose Sea Bass Fillets with Samphire & Vanilla Butter £7.99

It’s a bit of a tricky one to score as I liked it in spite of Heston, but I’m reviewing it because of Heston…. hmmm… I’m going for:


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One Response to Heston from Waitrose Sea Bass Fillets with Samphire & Vanilla Butter

  1. We once considered doing a series entitled “Don’t Shop at Waitrose!” in which we’d try to replicate the Heston-branded stuff at far less cost using a bit of research through his recipe books.

    We gave up on the idea because it’d just make us look incredibly bitter about not getting any freebies off them, but it was this very product that was the inspiration. Making Vanilla Butter is a bit of a long term investment, but it freezes almost indefinitely (we made ours over a year ago and haven’t been poisoned by it yet) and the rest of the ingredients can be had for far less than the price of this packet if you go to the right shops.

    Here’s our attempt to cook it from scratch http://www.insearchofheston.com/2012/03/hestons-sea-bass-with-vanilla-butter-recipe/ Our skin didn’t stick to the pan, but it wasn’t all that crispy either (hence suspiciously absent in all photos).

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