Here is a great fish recipe using branzini (Loup de mer) and all those nasturtiums I picked a few days ago. Branzini is a great Mediterranean fish that has a mild flavor and crispness is easily achieved when seared in a pan. This recipe is another dish that celebrates spring and the bounty that it brings. Snap peas are wonderfully crisp and sweet. Radish flowers give a great spice to the dish along with the earthiness from the nasturtiums. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.
2 Whole Branzini's filleted and de-boned
2 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to taste
2 cups of nasturtium leaves blanched
1/2 cup of spinach leaves blanched
2 cups of vegetable stock
5 tbsp of cream
4 tbsp of butter
salt to taste
1 onion charred
3 stalks for celery
1 cup of mushroom stems if you have them
5 cloves of garlic
2 bay leafs
1 sprig of thyme
8 cups of water
1 cup of snap peas blanched and cut on the bias
1/4 cup of radish flowers
1/4 cup of nasturtium pedals and flowers
For the Vegetable stock
Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and reduce by half or until the water taste flavorful. Strain out and season with salt.
For the Nasturtium sauce
In a small pot add two cups of vegetable stock and reduce by 1/4. Then pour into a vita mix blender with blanched nasturtium and spinach leaves. Puree until smooth, then pour in the cream and continue to puree for another minute. Then slowly add the butter until a smooth creamy sauce is formed. Strain if desired. Season and set aside.
In a large saute pan add oil on medium high heat. Season both sides of the branzini with salt and place in the saute pan skin side down. With a spatula press the fish down until it sits flat in the pan. (when you add the fish to the pan it will curl up, you need to press down firmly until the skins "sets" and then the fish will lay flat and sear evenly on the skin side so that it will brown properly). Cook the fish for about 4-5 minutes only on the skin side. The flesh side should cook 85% of the way. Meanwhile in a small saute pan add a little butter or oil and just heat up the snap peas with a little salt to warm them through. Take your plates and pour a ladle of the sauce down on the plate, add snap peas, flowers and nasturtium pedals. Turn the fish over for 5 seconds in the pan and the take out and place on the plate. Serve and enjoy!