Sunday, July 7, 2013

Osso Buco Style Sea Bass with Herb Whipped Potatoes and Orange Gremolata

The seafood adventure continues!  What started out as an attempt to enjoy more seafood at home has since tranformed into an all out culinary challenge.  Each week, Ross picks a day to stop at the fish monger on his way home from work.  Whatever strikes his fancy that day while perusing the tanks and ice trays is destined to become dinner.  He'll text me what he picked up.  And I have the thirty minute or so bus ride home to decide what to do with it...using only what we have at home at the time, cause ain't nobody got time for last minute grocery trips.

All week I was thinking fish and chips.  In all the baked and breaded glory.  Served with lemon garlic aioli.  I couldn't shake that meal from my head.  So what does Ross pick out?  White Sea Bass.  One of the firmest meatiest fillets out there.  Such sacrilige to bread it up and bake it.  This was a fillet that demanded a meaty treatment.  No poaching or en papillote.  No... it wanted to be seared, grilled, broiled, or...braised.

The cooking method eluded me at first after pondering the fish for a while.  But the idea of a gremolata jumped into my head immediately.  Several types of citrus awaited to be used up at home.  But poaching was out of the question.  And the charcoal grill would take to long to get going.  After poking around for gremolata inspiration, I came across a halibut served osso buco style.  The rich, salty tomato and veggie broth sounded like it would stand up to the meaty fillet.  Spike with the bright gremolata?  Sold.  And I still was able to use up a portion of our CSA potatoes in the process.

adapted from Bon Appetit, via Epicurious.

serves 3

The Ingredeints:
for the "Osso Buco"
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1/4 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes w/ juices
juice of 1 orange
zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp crushed thyme
1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb white sea bass, skin removed and cut into 3 portions
salt, pepper and cayenne

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp butter

for the whipped potatoes
3/4 lb russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 cloves of garlic, halved
2 Tbsp salted butter
2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

for the gremolata
2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley
zest of 1 orange
2 cloves of garlic, minced

The Process:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic.  Saute, stirring frequently, until the veggies are tender and beginning to brown, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and heat through, about 30 seconds.  Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by about half, an additional 5-7 minutes.

Add the broth, crushed tomatoes, orange juice, salt, zest, fish sauce, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by 1/3...about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes and garlic.  Cook until tender, about 25 minutes.

For the gremolata, combine the zest, garlic and parsley.  Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350

In another pan, heat the remaining oil over medium high heat.  Generously season the fillets with salt pepper, and cayenne.  Sear the fillets until browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove to a warm plate.  Add the balsamic vinegar to the same pan and simmer for about 1  minute, reducing slightly.  Add the vinegar to the vegetable sauce.  Melt the butter into the sauce.  Remove the bay leaf and transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Set the fish on top.  Bake, uncovered for 10 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily. Set aside to finish the potatoes.

Drain the tender potatoes, reserving some of the cooking liquid.  Return to the potatoes to the pot along with butter and whip with an electric beater set to low, or mash by hand.  Add reserved liquid by the Tbsp until the desired consistency is achieved.  Stir in the herbs.

to serve:
Spoon 1/3 of the potatoes onto a dinner plate and spread out slightly.  Top with one of the fillets and spoon the vegetable sauce over top.  Garnish with a generous sprinkle of gremolata.

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