Pan Seared Rock Fish with Summer Vegetables
Source: Mark Dommen, One Market Restaurant
This recipe was demonstrated at the Foodwise Classroom on June 24, 2023.
1 pound fish filets, either Rock Fish or halibut
1 bulb fennel, diced, keep scraps
1 stalk celery, diced, keep scraps
1 carrot, diced, keep scraps
1 onion, diced, keep scraps
1 zucchini, diced, keep scraps
1 summer squash, diced, keep scraps
1 head of garlic, 2 cloves set aside for pistou, 4 cloves set aside for cooking the fish, remainder for the tomato broth
1 bunch radish, sliced
½ cup fava beans, shelled
½ cup English peas, keep shells
1 bunch thyme
2 bunches basil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup parmesan (optional)
Fresh ground pepper
¼ cup grapeseed oil
½ stick butter
To make the tomato broth: Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cut the core out of the tomatoes and score the other side with a paring knife. Carefully put the tomatoes into the boiling water for 10 seconds and remove. Allow to cool enough to handle with your bare hands and peel the skins of the tomatoes off.
Quarter the tomato and separate the inner seeds and flesh so that you have the nice tomato petals with no seeds. Place the inner tomato meat into a large pot and set aside. The outer tomato petals can be cut into a nice even dice.
Add the leftover vegetable scraps to the same pot as the tomato scraps along with the garlic and cover with water. Place on the stove and bring to a simmer.
While the broth is cooking, shell the English peas and add the pea shells to the broth along with half the thyme bunch.
Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil and add enough salt to make it taste salty like the sea. Blanch the peas and shock in ice water. Do the same with the fava beans and after they are cool, peel the outer membrane off. Discard the membrane and save the fava beans.
Keep the blanching water on the stove, you will use it again for the pistou.
To make the pistou, pick the basil leaves off the stems and blanch in boiling water just until wilted. Remove from the boiling water straight into ice water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out as much water from the basil and place into a blender with 2 cloves of garlic, germ removed and a third of a cup extra virgin olive oil.
Blend into a puree. If you are using parmesan in your pistou now would be the time to add it and blend it again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you are old school, a mortar and pestle works great for making the pistou.
Remove pot of vegetable scraps from heat. Strain the tomato broth through a fine meshed strainer squeezing out as much flavor as you can. Keep the broth and toss the vegetables. Season the tomato broth with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Place two sauté pans on the stove over medium high heat. To the first sauté pan add the remainder of the olive oil and add the diced onion, fennel, celery and carrot (should be about ¾ cup). Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the summer squash and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper as you are cooking.
When the vegetables are tender, add the peas, fava beans, radish and diced tomatoes. Heat until just hot.
In the second sauté pan, add ¼ cup grapeseed oil to the hot pan. Season the fish filets with salt and fresh ground pepper. Carefully place the fish in the pan, laying the fish away from you as you do it to help prevent it from splashing oil on you. Keep the fish down in the pan until you see the flesh begin to caramelize.
Add half stick of butter, the remaining thyme and the four crushed garlic cloves to the pan.
As the butter melts begin to baste the fish with the butter. It should get nice and foamy.
After about 4-5 minutes, turn the fish over and continue to baste the fish with the butter. Turn the flame off and let the fish sit in the pan while you plate the dish.
To plate, divide the vegetables among four bowls, next carefully remove the fish from the pan using a slotted spatula. Place the fish on top of the vegetables. Spoon the tomato broth around and spoon the pistou into the broth. Finish with fresh herbs.