Here is a dish that was a big hit the other night.  I know sea bass has been on a list for endangered species for a long time.  There are places selling sea bass that is fished responsible.  The problem lies when poaching occurs or when people fish over the allotted amounts.  If you can get the fish from a responsible source with documentation then you know its coming from a reliable source that is fish responsibly (read here).  With that being said I still try not to buy it very often at all.  Sea bass is definitely a star though in the kitchen because of its meaty texture, with butter flavor. The natural crust that you can achieve from this fish is really superb.  I literally serve it maybe 2 or 3 times a year (serving 4 people) so that amount is not something should be frowned upon.  With that being said you can easily substitute another fish for the sea bass if you feel strongly about it.  Two of my favorite things about this dish other than the fish is actually the sauce and the puree.  I roasted the sunchokes in a salt crust.  This technique really intensifies that natural flavor of the vegetable.  You can do this with any root vegetable or protein of your liking.  The sauce is a simple one but delicious.  You take leeks and chicken stock and then emulsify it with brown butter.  Absolutely delicious.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

1 lb of sea bass cut into 4, 4 oz pieces

1 lb of sunchokes

2 lb of salt

2 egg whites

5 tbsp of water

1/4 warm cup of cream

2 tbsp of butter

 

Leek Emulsion 

1 large leek washed and sliced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup of green onion tops 

1/4 cup of white wine

3 cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup of blanched parsley

1 1/2 sticks of butter, browned

 

Vegetables

6 baby carrots blanched and cut in half

6 baby turnips blanched and cut in quarters

6 baby zucchini blanched in cut in thirds

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp of verjus

1 tsp of chopped thyme

 

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

For the sunchokes

Wash the sunchokes thoroughly under cold water.  Then in a bowl add salt, water, and egg whites.  Whisk together everything with a whisk until the salt resembles wet sand.  You can add a touch of water if it is not wet enough. In a small saute pan that is oven proof place a small layer of the salt to coat the bottom.  Then place the sunchokes on top of the bottom coat of salt.  Take the remaining salt and completely cover the sunchokes leaving no exposed vegetable.  Then place in the oven and roast for an hour. Take out and let it continue to cook for another 20 minutes.  Then crack the salt crust with a mallet to break it up.  Remove all of the salt.  Take the sunchokes out and dust off any of the left over salt.  Peel them if you want ( I did not) and place them in a blender.  Pour in the warm cream and butter.  Puree until completely smooth.  Adjust seasoning if need be.  Set aside until ready to plate.

For the Leek sauce

In a small sauce pot add oil, leeks, and garlic.  Season lightly with salt and sweet the leeks.  Do not let them brown.  Add your green onions and white wine.  Let the wine reduce by half and then add your chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.  Then pour everything into a vita mix.  Add the blanched parsley and puree until smooth.  Turn down to a low speed and gradually add your browned butter until incorporated. (To make brown butter simply put butter into a pan and when the milk solid start to brown, smell toasted, and the butter turns brown take off the heat).  Let it blend of a minute and then strain out into a holding container.  Keep warm.

To Finish,

In a hot saute pan add 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Season sea bass on both side with salt.  Place the sea bass fillet down into the pan.  Turn down the heat to medium high.  Cook for 5 minutes so the fish gets a really deep dark crust.  Meanwhile in a another saute pan add 2 tbsp of olive oil, carrots, turnips, and zucchini.  Cover and saute for 3 minutes and then add verjus and butter.  Cook uncovered for another minute, finish with thyme salt and pepper.  Flip the fish over after 5 minutes and then cook for 1 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let your fish finish cooking.  Place a spoonful of the warm sunchoke puree down on the plate.  Place the fish on top.  The ladle some of the sauce around the fish.  Place the vegetables next to the fish and finish the dish with sorrel and vegetable flowers.  Serve and enjoy!

 

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