This dish really came from nothing, literally. When I say nothing, I mean I had absolutely nothing coming to mind of what to make. I had lots of ingredients and not a clue of what to do with them after JP had requested sole for dinner, which is one of his favorites. Sure, I could have easily done a brown butter sole with vegetables and called it a day, but I am always looking to make my job harder (or at least that is the way it seems) . I was already making plans to go with another fish for dinner when that got sidetracked by the request. 9.99 times out of 10 I do everything from shopping, to menu planning, and preparing, with very little say (which is a dream for a chef). So when they do request something specific, I welcome it because normally it makes things a little easier, not so in this case.
Earlier in the day I was playing with some sous vide champagne grapes but that didn't make it to the plate. I also had about 5 other sauces to use but they too didn't make the cut. I didn't have much time to dive into a labor intensive meal so I took some of the things that were requested like garlic broccoli and sole and combined them with what I had like tortilla sauce, loroco, and caramelized onions. And this is what came out. Now loroco is this wonderful flower that grows in my wife's native country El Salvador. They normally put raw loroco in pupusas with cheese, eggs and chicken soup. Loroco is delicious! You can find fresh loroco in latin grocery stores when in season and if it isn't available fresh they do sell it canned. I purchased fresh loroco and instead of just using them raw in the recipes above I decided to fry them to compliment the fish. The flavor intensifies a bit when prepared this way; hard to describe the flavor because it is a flower but I would say the flavor has a more herbaceous quality rather then a floral. It is not an overpowering flavor but one that can stand on its own. If you can find it, definitely get it. I added a few other ingredients to the dish and this is the recipe I went with.
4 fillets of petrale sole
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp of Marash chili pepper
6 tbsp of olive oil
15 sugar snap peas blanched with tops taking off
2 bunches of broccolini blanched and trimmed of long stems
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 cup of loroco fried and lightly salted
1 cup of caramelized onions (butter, olive oil, onions)
1 broccoli stem peeled and shaved paper thin
Tortilla Tomato sauce
1 small onion
5 garlic cloves chopped
3 tbsp of ground cumin
2 tbsp of annato seeds
3 Anaheim chiles seeds and stems removed
1 jalapeno sliced
1 dried chipotle
5 large tomatoes quartered
3 corn tortillas
4 cups of chicken stock or water
1 lime juiced
3 tbsp of chopped cilantro
3 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to season
For the Tortilla Tomato sauce
In a medium pot on medium heat, add oil, onions, annato and all the chiles. Cook for 4 minutes and then add garlic, tortillas, and cumin. Cook for another minute and then add tomatoes, 1 tsp of salt and water. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the cilantro and transfer everything to the blender (vitamix) Puree until smooth in batches if need be. Finish with salt and lime juice. Keep warm and set aside.
For the caramelized onion
Take 2 onions, cut in half and slice thin. In a large saute pan on medium high heat add 1 tbsp of butter, 4 tbsp of olive oil, and the sliced onions. Stir ever few minutes, cook onions until they start to caramelize and turn brown. Should take about 15 to 20 minutes roughly. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
Once the onions are cooled take your paper thin broccoli stuff one side of the stem with the caramelized onions and roll up tightly. Continue until you have the desired number or until you don't have any more onions.
For the snap peas,
Blanch snap peas for 30 seconds in boiling salted water and then place directly into a ice bath. With a paring knife, carefully take off the top layer of the snap pea following the natural line of the pod to expose the peas inside. Set aside until later
For the Loroco,
In a small pot add 1 cup of oil for frying. Bring to 325 degrees. Add the loroco to the fryer and fry gently for 30 to 45 seconds. Strain on to a paper towel and season with salt. Set aside.
For the broccolini
Notice I used regular broccoli stems and here I am using the broccolini. In a medium hot saute pan add olive oil and garlic. Add the broccolini and cook for a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the sugar snap peas just to warm them up.
For the Petale sole,
Take the pumpkin seeds and pulse gently in a spice grinder. Then take 2 tbsp of olive oil and drizzle over the fillets. Season with salt, pumpkin seeds and marash chile. In a hot saute pan add the remaining olive oil and the fish crust side down in the pan. Cook for 1 and half minutes and then flip over. Cook for 20 seconds and then take the fish out of the pan and place on a side plate. To plate add a few spoonfuls of the tortilla sauce. Then add the broccoli roll, and the other vegetables. Finish with the fried loroco on top of the fish and serve.