Fennel- and Roasted Garlic-Studded Mediterranean Sea Bass with Eggplant

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Credit: Didier Loire

This mediterranean-style recipe will bring sun to your plate : fennel, roasted garlic, seabass and eggplant. What else ?

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Ingredients (4 people)

Sherry Vinegar Eggplant Sauce

  • 3 1/2 ounces shallots, sliced thickly (100 g)
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 sprig dried fennel
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar (6 cl)
  • 3 1/3 cups light chicken stock (80 cl)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (7 cl)
  • 4 eggplant

Vegetables

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 large Swiss chard leaves
  • 12 spring onions, 1 ounce each (30 g)
  • 18 oven-dried tomato wedges
  • 4 baby porcini mushrooms
  • 2 ounces chanterelle mushrooms (60 g)
  • 3/4 ounce butter (20 g)
  • 1 quart olive oil (1 l)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons light chicken stock (5 cl)
  • 1 3/4 ounces French bread, crust removed (50 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ounce flour (30 g)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (5 cl)

Instructions

Step 1: Sea Bass

Scale, clean and trim the bass carefully. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry with a towel. Cut off the head and tail. Remove the veins and gills, and soak in a pan of cold water.

Cut the filets from the bones, slicing 4 large steaks, 1/2 pound (240 grams) each, from the fillets. Remove the skin, leaving 1/15 inch (2 mm) of meat on it. Chill.

Soften the fennel along with the unpeeled garlic in olive oil in a pot in a 175°F (80°C) oven for 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, remove from the oil, cut into large slices, and cool.

Stud the bass meat with the cooled garlic and fennel. Score the fish skin.

Cook the bass, skin side down, in a cast iron pan with olive oil, placing a weight on the pieces so that the skin becomes very crispy.

When nearly cooked, season the bass with fleur de sel and coarsely ground black pepper.

Place a piece of parchment paper between the meat and the skin to separate the two pieces.

Step 2: Sherry Vinegar Eggplant Sauce

Pour some olive oil into a cast iron pot and sweat the shallot along with the black pepper and dried fennel. Add 3 1/2 tablespoons (5 cl) of sherry vinegar, and reduce until almost dry. Moisten with the light stock, add the bass head, and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam, and cook over a low heat for 40 minutes. Filter through a tamis.

Split the eggplant, finely chop the flesh, and season with salt and olive oil. Place in an earthenware baking dish and cook slowly in a 285°F (140°C) oven for 3 hours. When cooked, keep covered and warm.

Bind the sauce in a high speed blender with part of the eggplant flesh, the olive oil, a dash of vinegar, salt, and pepper.

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

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