This wonderful recipe incorporates some classic autumnal flavours and really showcases the stunning Chilean sea bass. We have tailored this recipe to suit a small dinner party where the preparation and execution of each element can be done ahead of time so the serving and plating of the dish is very simple.
1 bag of baby leaf spinach
1 Small head of Celeriac
40ml Double Cream
300ml of boiling water for Morel stock
1 Banana Shallot - peeled and cut into large 6/8 pieces
1 Small Clove of Garlic - Peeled & halved
1 Sprig of Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
125ml Red Wine
20ml Double Cream
Salt & Pepper
Morels always contain a small amount of grit or sand that can be easily removed by the following procedure.
For the Morel stock, place the 50g Morels in a bowl and pour 300ml of boiling water over them, leave to soak for approximately 45 mins. Remove the Morels and Strain the liquid through a fine sieve lined with kitchen paper to remove any grit from the liquid, then set aside.
In a bowl of cold water dunk and agitate the morels briefly and remove. Discard the water, refill with fresh and repeat the previous step once or twice until water is clean. It is important not to let the morels sit in the water for any period of time as you don’t want them to absorb any more water. Place morels on a plate between kitchen towels and set aside until ready to use.
In a heavy bottom saucepan pan, gently sweat shallots, and garlic in good quality olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft. Turn the heat up briefly and add red wine to deglaze the pan and boil off the alcohol. Add thyme and bay leaf, reduce the heat again slightly and reduce wine by two thirds. Add the morel stock, bring back to the boil then reduce by half. Taste the sauce to make sure you have reduced it for long enough and the flavour of morels is concentrated. Add the splash of cream and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is the consistency to coat the back of a spoon. Check the seasoning and set aside.
Peel and cube the celeriac. On a low heat, in a heavy based, wide pan, sweat the celeriac with a knob of butter and pinch of salt. You are aiming for soften and translucent with no colour (approximately 15 mins) then add the milk, water and cream and simmer until completely soft.
Take off the heat and cool for a few minutes. Strain off and keep the liquid. Place the celeriac in a blender and slowly add the liquid while blending to create a vortex in the blender, to reach a perfect consistency the puree should be smooth, thick, but not runny. Check the seasoning, cover the surface with a piece of baking paper (cartouche) to prevent a skin forming, and set aside.
How to prepare the Chilean Sea Bass:
Remove the fish from the freezer the night before and place in the fridge to defrost. The Chilean sea bass we supply contains 5-6 large pin bones at the head end which are difficult to pull out using tweezers without damaging the flesh, so we recommend cutting a narrow v insertion along the bone line, down to the skin, but not through the skin and removing the bones this way. Trim any thin edges of the fillet and divide into portions depending how many people are eating and your appetite.
We recommend 150g+ per person. Cut first the curved head end portion, then a larger tail section then divide the remaining into 4 equal sized center portions.
Note* If you do not need to use the whole fillet it is possible to portion it easily by removing from the freezer and packaging, then place on a large chopping board for 20 mins to 'temper' the fillet without defrosting fully. After a short time unused portions can be cut, individually double wrapped in cling film and returned to the freezer for a later date.
In separate small saucepans gently heat the celeriac pureé and sauce on the stove.
Cooking the Sea bass:
Pat the skin dry with paper towel and lightly season. In a non stick, heavy based frying pan heat olive oil until the pan is hot but not smoking. Gently place sea bass in the pan skin side down, dropping the portions away from you so as not to splash hot oil.
Gently use the back of a fish slice to press down and ensure the skin is flat on the surface of the pan. Keep the pan on a medium to medium high heat and once the edges of the skin appear golden, transfer the sea bass onto a baking tray on a piece of parchment skin side up and set aside until you have prepped your garnish and are ready to begin to plate. Once you have reached this point, put the sea bass into a preheated fan oven at 180 degrees, or 200 degrees conventional oven for approximately 4-5 minutes.
Wash spinach and dry excess water. As soon as the sea bass goes in the oven saute the spinach briefly in a hot frying pan with a knob of butter and seasoning, set aside on a warm plate.
Using the same hot pan you sautéed the spinach in, fry the morels briefly with a knob of butter and seasoning until a little colour is achieved and turn off the heat.
As you begin to plate your garnish, put the sea bass in the preheated oven. Using a dessert spoon, scoop a spoon of celeriac puree and tap onto the plate. Without lifting the spoon off the plate, swipe the spoon towards you. Using tongs, place spinach on the plate. Position morels around, odd numbers look better for presentation purposes. Place the perfectly cooked sea bass on top of the spinach and pour some of the morel sauce around the plate, but not over the fish.
Serve with buttered new potatoes and a light red wine such as a Pinot Noir.