In aid of honing my technique in preparing fish – as well as interesting sauces – I recently produced this dish:
I call it "Chilean Sea Bass w/ Ginger-Cardamom Sauce." It is somewhat based on Eric Ripert's "Masala-Spiced Crispy Black Bass with Peking Duck-Green Papaya Salad in Ginger Cardamom Broth." But… not.
See, since my copy of Ripert's On the Line arrived, I've been drooling over the delicious recipes, and looking forward to the challenge of the techniques demonstrated. I finally couldn't stand it any longer and ran off to Central Market – brimming with fantasies of inexpensive fine dining and satisfying accomplishment. As this was an exercise, I skipped the salad component to focus on the fish and sauce. The market was out of Black Bass. I scanned the many available options… Chilean Sea Bass! I thought that was un-PC and all… but there it was. "I'll take about… that much." Cool. Looks good. Didn't notice the price. Though nowhere near Le Bernardin prices, the inexpensive home-cooked meal part of the plan just swam off. D'oh!
To start the sauce, I sautéed sliced Shallots, Garlic. and Ginger in canola oil. Next, Ripert asks that you prepare a Tomato and Cardamom Chutney. So I picked up a prepared Chutney and some Green Cardamom pods from the local Indian market (this is an exercise).
I added the Chutney and cracked Cardamom pods to the pan and continued to saute. You then add a reduced chicken stock or Jus, simmer, then pass through a fine sieve and keep warm – finish with Lime juice before serving.
Now, the fish. Skin side dusted with Garam Masala, then the whole filet seasoned with Salt and White Pepper, then dusted with Wondra Flour (awesome tip!).
Into the pan, skin side down (pressed for a bit – so the skin doesn't shrink) Cook 5 mins. Then turned and into a 350* oven. Total cook time about 10 mins – or until a metal skewer easily enters the flesh, and after remaining for 5 seconds, feels just warm when touched to your lip. (THIS is the part of the technique I am trying to master – so easy and foolproof, but you can screw it up!)
And here we go:
Pretty damn good – even with all the cheating (I know, Eric… I know) – and I'm getting better at my technique. The dish would have come together perfectly with the acid provided by the omitted Duck-Papaya Salad w/ Ginger Vinaigrette… next time!