Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Branzino dinner

Amazingly, one of our local supermarkets had fresh, reasonably priced branzino. Better yet, this is a farmed, sustainable fish - called striped bass in English. For some reason, the Italian name for the fish passed over the French and English versions.

By encasing the fish in a salt-egg white crust, you can bake it without the worry of pulling fish jerky out of the oven 30 minutes later. All the fish's moisture will be sealed in. The crust is a mix of egg whites and Kosher salt: 3-1/2 salt to one egg white by weight if you're someplace humid, 3-1/4 salt to one egg white if you're somewhere dry. I start by weighing the egg white in grams, then multiply to find how much salt I need. Don't worry about saltiness - you're using the whole fish, skin on. The skin will keep the flesh and salt separate. Stick some fresh thyme and bay leaf into the cavity of the cleaned fish, place it on a bed of Kosher salt, make the crust with some more Kosher salt, place it in a 375° convection oven for half an hour, peel off the salt (the skin will come off, too), fillet the fish and serve. Simple!

The velouté sauce is a bit less simple: blond roux, mushroom stock, some vermouth, some salt, some Pastis, some fresh thyme and bay leaf, strained.

The Israeli couscous is also simple - sauté some garlic in oil, toss in the couscous, stir it a bit, add mushroom stock until it's absorbed and you're ready to go.

The persimmon mousse needs some work - it was good, but it needed more persimmon, less cream, and more gelatin. The sugar content was about right - not too much but enough to avoid going too acidic. Luckily, our neighbor gave us a lot of persimmons so I can experiment.

No comments:

Post a Comment