Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chilean Sea Bass, Why Do You Taste So Good?

Continuing my "Beautiful Bistro Menu," I wanted to make something special for my man, who loves Chilean sea bass. This elusive fish, aka., Patagonia toothfish, is not only hard to come by, because of over fishing, but is also d*** expensive! However, when I saw it at my local Whole Foods Market, who reportedly buys from a sustainable fishery certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, I just had to splurge! After the initial shock of the cost, and a rude old bag cutting in front of me in line (don't you hate that), I decided to make Laura Calder's "Pan-Fried Sea Bass with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Broccoli Puree." This recipe was very easy and darn pretty to look at! Although, with the strong flavors of the roasted red pepper sauce and broccoli puree, I think halibut would be a perfect substitute, and a lot kinder to your wallet! Don't forget to check back for the dessert!

Pan-Fried Sea Bass with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Broccoli Puree

Serves 4

For the red pepper sauce
2 red peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons white wine
6 tablespoons chicken stock
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the broccoli puree
1 head broccoli, about 14 ounces
1 leek, washed and trimmed, see Techniques
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter, plus more to taste
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, to taste

For the sea bass
4 fillets sea bass (or halibut), about 4 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the red pepper sauce
Preheat over to 400 degrees. Set the red peppers on a baking sheet and roast until the flesh is soft and the skin is puckered, 35-45 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Set aside for 10 minutes to sweat. Remove the plastic wrap, peel and seed the peppers. Cut the flesh into pieces and set aside.

Heat the oil in a saute pan. Add the shallot and cook until soft. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook 1 minute. Add the stock and the cooked red pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Cool slightly, and puree in a blender. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper, then transfer to a small saucepan to reheat in a few minutes.

For the broccoli puree
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut the florets off the broccoli stem in even sizes. Salt the pot of boiling water, add the broccoli and leek. Cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Drop in the butter and puree with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the salt. Add pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest, to taste. Serve the broccoli puree hot as a bed for the fish.

For the fish
Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet (non-stick works well here). Fry on both sides until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. 

To serve
Add a spoonful of broccoli puree to the center of each plate and top it with the fish. Swirl the red pepper sauce around the plate and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from French Taste: Elegant Everyday Eating, by Laura Calder.

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