Sunday, 20 March 2011
Sustainable Sea Bass a la Meuniere with Crispy Potato Discs
Very briefly, before I proceed with today's recipe, I would firstly like to acknowledge the fact that this particular post is a bit of a special landmark...
I wanted to come up with something today that was a little bit special, appealing to a wide range of people, representative of one of my own favourite dishes and yet fairly simple to prepare. I gave it a little thought and decided to do this very different combination of fish and potatoes, so popular in the form of fish and chips. I also wanted to ensure that I took account of fish sustainability in the dish and decided to use fresh, sustainable sea bass fillets. I am using silver, European bass fillets but a sustainable equivalent will be available in most countries around the world.
Cooking fish a la Meuniere requires firstly that it be coated in flour and secondly that it be served with a sauce comprising browned butter, lemon juice and parsley. So many recipes of this type are overly complicated beyond belief and - in my eyes, at least - spoiled. I have therefore stuck to the literal principles while making the dish as simple as possible, to ensure it retains the delicious, natural flavours of the sea bass.
Ingredients per Person
2 small sea bass fillets
2 tbsp flour
Salt and black pepper
1 large potato
2 to 3oz of butter
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Juice of half a lemon
Accompanying vegetable of choice
The potato discs should be started first. The potato should be peeled and sliced to a thickness of 1/4". The slices should be placed in a wire basket in a pot of cold water and on to the heat. When the water begins to boil, the heat should be reduced and the potatoes simmered for five minutes. They should be drained, cooled and refrigerated in a Tupperware dish for half an hour. After this time, they should be carefully dried in a clean tea towel and deep fried in sunflower oil for five minutes. Drain them on kitchen paper, cool and again refrigerate for half an hour.
One ounce of the butter should be melted in a large, non-stick frying pan. Please note that it is imperative that real butter be used here. Low fat, vegetable based substitutes are - however sadly - by no means suitable and will entirely spoil the finished dish.
The flour should be spread on a plate and seasoned. The bass fillets should be patted on the skin side only in the flour and laid in the frying pan, skin side down. The butter should be spooned occasionally over the flesh side and the fillets cooked for four to five minutes until done.
While the fillets are cooking, the potato slices should be fried again in the sunflower oil until crisp and golden. Any accompanying vegetable of choice will also require to be prepared.
The fillets of fish should be transferred to a heated plate and covered with tinfoil to stay warm. The remainder of the butter should be added to the pan and cooked on a fairly high heat. The lemon juice and parsley should be added for but a minute or two.
Drain the potatoes on fresh kitchen towel and plate with the vegetable. Drizzle the sauce over the fish and garnish the dish with more fresh parsley and a lemon segment if required.