I went to the farmers market in Malibu last week and there was a fishmonger there who had some great looking fish for sale. I talked to her and she was apart of a small operation where her husband and his friends go out to catch the fish and then she goes to the markets or restaurants to sell it. The fish isn't out of the water for more than a day or two before you are eating it. Unless you're catching the fish yourself, that is about the best you can do these days as far as getting fresh fish. Well it just so happened that the famous mother (Frances Fisher ) from the movie titanic was coming over for an impromptu dinner. She said she really didn't eat a lot of fish anymore but that she would try a piece. I told her it was very fresh I just bought it and they had just caught it. I told her I didn't want to force her to eat it because Eloise wasn't going to eat it either. She decided to eat it and thanked me for it after because she said it was one of the best pieces of fish she'd ever had. The real star of this plate besides the cabbage was the apples. I confit or cooked the apples in turmeric butter (ghee or clarified) and the results were really amazing. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!
Santa Barbara sea bass with confit apples
1 lb sea bass cut into 4 oz pieces
1 head of red cabbage sliced 1/2 inch thick grilled
1 bunch of broccoli grilled
1 large bunch of leeks blanched
1 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of curry
1 tbsp of butter
Red Cabbage purée
1/2 of grilled cabbage
1/4 cup of oil (substitute cream, butter, creme friache, yogurt, veganaise, mayo)
Salt to taste
8oz of turmeric ghee
3 Fuji apples melon balled
6 fingers of turmeric grated fine or purée
2 lbs of unsalted butter
Bok choy flowers
For the turmeric ghee, (better to make in advance if possible)
Peel turmeric and grate fine ( you might want to use cloves and parchment paper not to get everything stained orange including your fingers ) Combine butter and turmeric in a small pot on medium low heat. Cook for 30 minutes or so until the foam from the butter has cooked off and the milk solids have separated to the bottom of the pot. Strain off if desired or pour into a jar and it should last for a few weeks.
For the Cabbage,
Heat up your grill or green egg if you have one. I sliced mine whole in 5 slices. Drizzled it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the cabbage until it is tender (10 -12 minutes flipping it half way through). I tossed any of the outer pieces that were really burnt. Take half of the cabbage and puree with the oil or any of the other substitutes (Originally I was trying to make a cabbage oil, but the puree just emulsified and became a smooth puree. It didn't tasted oily at all and was not greasy so I went with it as a puree. I would probably just use cream or butter if I were to make it again but maybe not) The rest of the cabbage I diced very small.
For the Broccoli,
Slice the broccoli heads in half or even three times and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill until tender (7-10) minutes. Then cut away the stems and reserve for another purpose or dice them too. Take the heads and dices small and set aside.
For the Apples,
Simply take a melon baller ( I used one that looked like gnocchi or shell) and ball out the apples. Place them in a pan with the turmeric ghee. Add a pinch of apples and turn on medium low heat. You can put a cartouche (parchment paper lid on top) if you desire. Cook for 15 -20 minutes until the apples are tender but not mush. Set aside and keep warm.
In a cast iron or non stick pan add olive oil to the pan. Season fish with salt on the skin side. Season with salt and pepper on the filet side. Place the skin side down of the bass in the pan. Push down slightly for 15 seconds until the fillet won't curl up any more and lays flat in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes in the pan. Meanwhile place olive oil and butter in another saute pan along with blanched leeks, broccoli, and cabbage. Saute for one minute and then add cumin and curry powder. Cook for another 2 minutes and then finish with salt. Place a spoonful of the cabbage puree on the plate. Then add the vegetables to the plate. Add some of the apples around the puree. Flip the fish over for 20 seconds in the pan. Finish with flowers and one piece of the fish on top skin side up. Drizzle a little of the turmeric butter around the dish. Serve and enjoy!