Balsamic Sea Bass with Baby Asparagus

Credit: Didier Loire


Step 1: Sea Bass

Scale, clean and rinse the bass. Cut away the fillets, then remove the bones and the skin. Remove the belly portion and cut 4 steaks, 2 ounces (160 g) each, from the back of the fillets.

Butterfly the steaks at the thickest part.

Lightly sprinkle the insides with the coarsely ground black pepper—this will be the presentation side. Season the steaks with fleur de sel and brush with oil.

Cook the bass steaks on a griddle, browning lightly and evenly. Begin with the presentation side and flip over when nearly cooked.

Step 2: Sauce

Cut off the asparagus leaflets, then peel, slicing 2 inches (5 cm) from the ends and wash.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and sear the asparagus. Season lightly with fleur de sel, cover, and cook without browning. When the all the cooking liquid has evaporated, cover with a hot mixture of light stock and chicken jus.

Once the asparagus has cooked, place in a blender and liquefy to a smooth, velvety soup consistency. Place in a stainless steel receptacle and filter through a tamis moistened with cold water.

Season to taste and chill immediately in a flash freezer or on a bed of ice to set the natural green color.

Step 3: Asparagus

Cut the wild asparagus 3 1/4 inches (8 cm) from the ends and wash.

Remove the leaflets from the baby asparagus, slice 3 1/4 inches (8 cm) from the tips, and peel with the tip of a small knife.

When ready to use, pour some olive oil into a warm frying pan and sear the wild asparagus without browning.

Pour some olive oil into a sauté pan, add the baby asparagus, cover and cook without browning. Season lightly, add a bit of chicken jus and light chicken stock and a dab of butter at the last minute. Toss the asparagus in their cooking juices for a nice shine.

Step 4: Plating

Reheat the sauce a bit, add a dab of butter and some olive oil, and season with a touch of lemon juice. Mix in a blender to make it frothy.

Pour a spoonful of sauce onto each plate and place the baby asparagus in a star shape on top of the sauce.

Remove the sea bass steaks from the griddle, place on a stainless steel rack and moisten slightly with aged balsamic vinegar. Place delicately on top of the baby asparagus, then add the wild asparagus.

Season with fleur de sel, pepper and olive oil. Serve immediately.

This recipe was originally published in "Culinary Encyclopedia by Alain Ducasse" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits