Zach Mills

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SERVES 4
4 rockfish fillets (7 ounces each)
2 cups multi-colored cauliflower
1 cup fennel, diced
1⁄2 cup black and green olives, chopped
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced

For the Romesco sauce:
1 cup charred red bell peppers
2 cups charred tomatoes
1⁄2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup white bread, cubed
(crust removed)
2 tablespoons garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon almonds, slivered
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the croquettes:
2 cups potatoes, mashed
2 tablespoons squid ink
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups egg wash
4 cups breadcrumbs, fine
Salt and pepper

For the fennel salad:
1 cup frisee
1 cup fennel, shaved
2 tablespoons fennel fronds
1 tablespoon chives, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

To make the Romesco: Coat red bell peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper and place either on a grill or gas burner. Allow peppers to char on all sides. Once charred, move to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam. Slice tomatoes in half and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and char the same way as the peppers. Once charred move to a bowl but do not cover.

Thinly slice onions and garlic and place in a pot over medium-low heat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and allow to cook for another 2 minutes.

Peel the charred skin from the peppers and separate the flesh from the stem. Place both the bell pepper flesh and charred tomatoes to the pot with the onions, garlic and paprika. Let cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers and tomatoes are softened and have given off most of their liquid. Add sherry vinegar and allow to cook for 1 more minute.

Transfer everything to a blender along with the rest of the Romesco sauce ingredients. Blend on high for about 1 minute until very smooth. Remove and allow to cool. It is best to place mixture in a squeeze bottle to plate.

To make the croquettes: Make mashed potatoes however you prefer and place on a tray in the refrigerator to cool. (My method would be to boil peeled Yukon Gold potatoes in heavily salted water until all the way cooked, then mix with warmed heavy cream and butter. Ratio should be 2 parts potato, half part cream, half part butter.) Once cooled, move potatoes to a bowl and mix with squid ink until they are black. Roll potatoes into spheres just smaller than a golf ball and place on a tray. Move the tray to the freezer for at least an hour.

Make a breading station by using 3 separate bowls; 1 of flour seasoned with about 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 with eggs whisked well together with 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 with very fine breadcrumbs mixed with a tablespoon of salt.
Remove potato balls from the freezer and begin to “double bread” by first coating in flour, followed by egg wash, followed by breadcrumbs then back into the egg wash and finally back into the breadcrumbs. Make sure each croquette is fully coated, place on a tray and move back to the freezer.

To make the rest of dish: In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1⁄4 cup of canola or vegetable oil. Season the rockfish’s skin side very well with salt and place skin side down in the pan. Season the flesh side and press down on each piece of fish to ensure that all of the skin is touching the pan. Place in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

In a small pot over medium heat, add olive oil followed by diced fennel, cauliflower florets and chopped olives. Season with salt and pepper and cook until everything is warmed through but not browning, about 3 minutes. Add
vegetable stock and let reduce to a glaze. Remove from the heat and mix in minced chives and shallot.

Gently drop croquettes in a 350-degree fryer and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the fryer; shake off excess oil and season with salt.

To plate: Place the mixture of cauliflower, fennel and olive down on the bottom of the plate, about the same size as the fish. Place fish on top. Mix ingredients for the fennel salad together in a bowl and top each fish. Place 3 dots down around each fish just bigger than the size of the croquettes and place croquettes on top.

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