Braised Striped Sea Bass and Artichokes
Sea bass fillets are browned, then braised in a pan with wine and vegetables. Chef Colicchio points out that the vegetables will garnish the fish, and suggests that you take care in cutting them so they will be attractive. This recipe adapts to many different kinds of firm-fleshed fish; adjust the cooking time as needed for the type of fish and preferences of the diners.
- Lemon - 1, juice
- Cool Water - 1 cup
- Baby Artichokes - 12
- Carrots - 3 large, peeled
- Olive Oil - 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- White Onions - 2 medium, cut in narrow julienne
- Leeks - 2, roughly chopped
- Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
- Celery - 4 stalks with leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dry White Wine - 1 cup
- Bay Leaves - 2
- Rosemary - 2 sprigs
- Thyme - 2 sprigs
- Sea Bass - Four 4-inch-square fillets (alt. other firm-fleshed fish)
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Parsley - 2 sprigs, stemmed and chopped
- Chervil - 4 sprigs
- Tarragon - 4 sprigs
Combine the lemon juice and water in a bowl. Trim the stem and tip from an artichoke. Pull off all the dark green leaves, paring the artichokes down until they are pale green. Cut in two and put into the lemon water to prevent discoloration. Repeat for all the artichokes.
Carve a series of shallow Vs in each carrot lengthwise, then cut crosswise into coins; the carrots will be fluted all around.
Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the carrots, onions, leeks, garlic, and celery. Cook over medium heat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes; do not let the vegetables begin to color. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the remaining olive oil and heat for 30 seconds, until it shimmers. Stir in the artichokes and wine and lower the heat to medium; simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the artichokes can easily be pierced with a sharp knife. Take off the heat and add the bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary. Let rest.
To prepare the fish: Cut each square of fish in half. Pat the fillets dry with paper towels; if they are not dry, they will stick to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Brown the fish for 2 minutes, skin-side up. Turn and brown on each side for 1 minute each. Add the fillets to the simmering artichoke broth. Simmer the fish for 5 minutes in the broth, basting it frequently with the broth.
To serve: Place a bass fillet on each warmed serving plate. Arrange a mixture of vegetables around the fillets. Spoon braising liquid over the fish and vegetables like a sauce. Garnish each with chopped parsley and sprigs of chervil and tarragon.