Crispy "Black Thai" Bass

Components

  • Crispy Bass

  • Parsnip Puree

  • Dashi

  • Spinach

 

Crispy Bass

  • Yield: 2 portions

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Black Sea Bass filets

  • Kosher salt

  • Canola oil

  • Wondra Flour

 

Method

 

Use fish tweezers to remove any pin bones that may be present in the filets.

 

Season the fish with salt on both sides and pat completely dry. Trapped within the flesh is a layer of moisture which—if not removed—would diminish any chance of obtaining consistent crispy skin. To remove the excess moisture, begin by positioning the fish on a cutting board with the tail to your right, and gently scraping the skin from left to right, intermittently drying the knife with a towel. This process creates a “squeegee” effect on the flesh, in preparation of the cooking process. Once all visible liquid is removed, dab the fish with a clean towel, then rotate the fish in the opposite direction and scrape across the flesh once to open the crevices of the flesh and ensure that no scales remain. This will allow oxygen to flow through the fish, completely drying out the flesh.

 

Pour enough oil in the bottom of a heated non-stick pan, dredge the bass in Wondra flour and place it in the pan, away from you to prevent hot oil from splashing on your hand. Instantaneously, upon impact with the hot oil, the skin naturally curls upward. Gently shake the pan to ensure it doesn’t stick and begin to press the flesh with a fish spatula in a few brief attempts to “reset” its heightened disposition. Then continue pressing and holding the fish flat in the pan, eight to ten seconds at a time, until it remains flat without pressure. Be careful not to apply too much force on the flesh as the skin may “split” causing a tear in the skin, allowing the hot oil to damage the beautiful meat. Once flat, increase the heat and remove about half of the oil, as excess oil would only become absorbed by the skin, eliminating the possibility of dry crispness. Continue swirling the fish in the pan to evenly distribute the heat. Lift the fish from the pan and quickly check the progress of caramelization of the skin. Adjust the motion and heat within the pan based on your observations. As the skin side continually browns, the steam from the coagulating proteins also allows the flesh to cook through slightly. Once the skin reaches Maillard magnificence, give the flesh side a quick kiss in the pan to eliminate an off-putting raw taste, but maintain a medium rare internal temperature for maximum moisture and optimal texture.

 

Parsnip Puree

  • Yield: 2 cups

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs Kosher salt

  • 4 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1- inch pieces

  • 3 cups coconut milk

  • 2 oz ginger, peeled, sliced into ½- inch thick pieces

  • 2 oz cold butter, diced

 

Method

 

Place all ingredients except butter in a saucepot, cover with a parchment paper cartouche, and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking until the parsnips are tender. Discard the ginger and place the parsnips and coconut milk in a blender. Blend the mixture until smooth, then add the butter—one cube at a time—until fully emulsified. Pass the puree through a chinois.

 

Dashi

  • Yield: 1 ½ cups

 

Ingredients

  • 1 # kombu

  • 2 stalks lemongrass, crushed

  • 3 kefir lime leaves

  • 4 oz bonito flakes

  • 1 cup beef broth/ veal stock

  • ½ cup soy sauce

  • 1 oz mirin

  • 1 oz sake

 

Method

 

Cover the kombu, lemongrass, and kefir lime leaves with cold water in a large saucepot, bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Strain the dashi and mix in the bonito flakes. After 10 minutes, strain the dashi through a chinois. Reduce the veal stock in a small saucepot to 2 oz. Add 1 cup of the dashi to the reduced veal stock. Reduce the broth until it reaches a nappe consistency and coats the back of a spoon.

 

Sauteed Spinach

  • Yield: ½ cup

 

Ingredients

  • 2 oz sesame oil

  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced

  • 1 oz ginger, peeled and minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 Tbs kosher salt

  • 1 # baby spinach

 

Method

 

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallot, ginger, garlic, and salt and sweat until the shallot is translucent. Increase the heat to high, add the spinach, toss quickly to wilt and transfer to a paper towel.

 

Plating

 

Spread the parsnip pure along the entire left side of the bottom of a bowl. Gently pour the dashi sauce to fill the right half of the bowl. The viscosity of the puree will stabilize the position of the sauce to create a “yin and yang” design (black tie). Garnish with fresh mint and cilantro.