Sea bass in sea salt and herb

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by: Single Chef






You need a lot of egg white for this recipe, but don't waste the yolks — you can use them to make pasta (one of the reasons we dreamed up this way of making the crust is that we always have lots of egg whites left over after we have made our pasta). If you happen to have any aged balsamic vinegar — which is very expensive but beautiful- then, instead of the dressing, just pour a little around the fish, with some good olive oil.




ingredients

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serves: 4

4 handfuls of spinach

5 ounces basil (trimmed)

5 ounces parsley (trimmed)

1 ounce rosemary leaves

1 ounce sage leaves

4 cups sea salt

5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup egg whites (about 6-8 eggs, plus l yolk for brushing)

4 sea bass fillets (each about 7 ounces, of a consistent thickness, i.e., with no thinner tail parts)

2 pats of butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

For the balsamic dressing:

8 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 lemon (juice)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

2 drops of Worcestershire sauce

Nutrition Facts
Sea bass in sea salt and herb

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 1173

  • Total Fat: 37.5 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 18.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 148.7 mg
  • Sodium: 113659 mg
  • Total Carbs: 143.2 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 8.8 g
  •     Sugars: 10.8 g
  • Protein: 61.9 g
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preparation

1.  Blanch the spinach leaves in boiling salted water for the briefest time (5 to 1O seconds only), then drain and squeeze cut the excess water.

2.  Mix the herbs together. Either put the sea salt into a feed processor and crack it a little, then add the herbs and process until the herbs are very finely chopped, or do this by hand.

3.  If you have a food processor, put the flour, egg whites and the salt and herb mixture into it, and process to a green dough. Otherwise, mix the flour and the salt and herb mixture well in a mixing howl, then transfer to a clean work surface, pile up like a small mountain (which we call a fontana or fountain) and make a well in the middle. Beat the egg whites lightly in a bowl, then pour them into the well in the flour. Put in your hand and slowly and gently turn it, working in a little of the flour mix at a time, so that the egg white is absorbed gradually and forms a dough.

4.  Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes. If it feels too hard as you work it, wet your hands with a little water, which should help to loosen it. The dough needs to he firm and elastic enough to enclose the fish without breaking hut not too loose; otherwise when it cooks it will release too much moisture, and the fish won't cook properly. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and keep to one side.

5.  Make the balsamic dressing: put the balsamic vinegar in a bowl, add the honey and sugar, and leave in a warm place (but not on the stove), so that the honey and sugar can dissolve into the vinegar. When they have, add the lemon juice, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. Taste and, if you think it is too sharp, add a little more sugar to taste. Keep to one side.

6.  Roll tho dough out to about 1/8 inch thick. You need to cut this into 8 rough squares of dough — 4 to go beneath the fillets (make these about 3/4 inch bigger all round than the fish) and another 4 to go over the top of each fillet to enclose them completely (these top squares will need to be about 1 1/4 inches bigger all around than the fish). Each fillet will be slightly different, so use them as a guide when you are cutting out your dough.

7.  Lay out the 4 squares of dough that will go underneath the fish and place a fillet on top of each, skin side facing upward, then brush the edges with beaten egg yolk and put the top square on top. Seal tightly and trim the edges neatly. Make sure there are no holes in the dough, if there are any, take a piece cf the dough trimmings, wet it with water and use it to patch the hole. Brush with mere egg.

8.  Line a flat ovenproof tray with baking paper, put the sea bass "parcels" on it and place in the preheated oven. The length of cooking time will depend entirely on the thickness of the fish, so start testing after about 7 minutes (but bear in mind you might need up to 10 minutes or so more). Take one of the sea bass out — the crust will now be golden and hard — and, with a sharp knife, cut around three sides, so you can lift up the crust like a lid, and check the fish inside. Press your finger against the fillet: if it is soft, then it is ready, if the flesh of the fish is resistant, replace the "lid" and put back in the oven. Test again after a couple of minutes or so.

9.  When the sea bass is ready, take it out of the oven and leave it in its crust, while you warm up the spinach in a saucepan with the butter and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in the middle of your plates.

10.  With a knife, cut the crusts all the way round and lift off the tops. With a spatula, lift out the fish and put them on top of the spinach. Finish with the balsamic dressing and serve.

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