- Posted February 4, 2013 by
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Bass Back, Cooked In Juniper And Almond
Juniper berries are typically associated with wild game cooking. In this recipe, it is used to give spicy and aromatic flavor to sea bass. Mixed together with preserved oranges, almond powder, rosemary, thyme, and breadcrumbs, the juniper berries, herbs, fruit and spices create a wonderful tangy, subtly sweet and very intense coating for the fish filets, which will be seared in peanut oil and pan-fried. Instead of coating the fish with the breadcrumbs mixture before cooking, the breadcrumbs with juniper berries, almond, herbs, and oranges mixture is sprinkled on the fish halfway in the cooking.
Juniper is typically sold as dried berries, which should be crushed just before using since their flavor rapidly declines when exposed to air. Since they are very intense and powerful like black peppers, two teaspoons of these berries is enough to flavor the dish without overpowering the natural flavor of the sea bass and other ingredients.
The intense flavors do not end there. Besides the spicy and tangy breadcrumb mix, the sea bass fillets will also be served alongside dried beets sautéed in butter and an intoxicating cress and herb salad. Three sauces are used to season the final plate: pepper cream sauce, cress oil, and reduced balsamic vinegar. With so many ingredients, spices, and seasonings, you might think that the bass fillets will be overpowered and overwhelmed by the various flavors, but in fact the natural mild and delicate flavor of seas bass will stand out when it is contrasted with these spices. Together, they create a harmony in the plate as well as in the palate.
Beet leaves, which are edible and taste similar to Swiss chard, are used as decoration. The red beets are dried in the oven to prevent from bleeding or leaking red substance on the plate. Sautéed in butter, they become moist and juicy and simply delicious. Get your recipes for white fish here.
For the bread crumbs:
0.4 lbs. (about 6 ½ oz.) preserved oranges
2 teaspoons juniper berries
5 tablespoons almond powder
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 teaspoons rosemary and thyme
1 small bass (about 1.32 lbs.)
0.53 lbs. beets
1 ¾ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
5/8 cup raisin core oil
For the salad with herbs:
1 oz. cress
0.39 oz. shallots
2 ½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
0.88 oz. chives
0.14 oz. garlic
0.88 oz. basil
0.88 oz. parsley
0.88 oz. chervil
Gut and clean the bass and cut fillets of about 4.2 oz. each. Refrigerate. Peel the beet and cut into slices. Place on a baking dish covered with sulphuric paper, and cook them in a 210 degree F. oven until they are entirely dry. Dice the beet slices and sauté them in butter. Add salt, pepper, and garlic.
In a bowl, mix the chopped preserved orange, the crushed juniper berries, the almond powder, the breadcrumbs, thyme, and rosemary.
In another bowl, emulsify the cold raisin core oil and balsamic vinegar. Add the salad ingredients a little at a time starting with the herbs—the chopped shallots, chives, garlic, basil, parsley, and chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the cress in this salad dressing.
Heat 1-tablespoon peanut oil in a saucepan. Place the bass fillets in the pan and cook. When the bass is half cooked, sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over it. Turn the bass onto its other side.
Add old balsamic vinegar to the empty pan where the bass was cooked and boil it down. Meanwhile, mix the cream with pepper.
Prepare the serving dishes by decorating them with cream and dried beet leaves. Place the beets in the middle of the plate. Place the bass on top of the beets, then the salad with herbs next to it. Pour cress oil over the bass. Pour reduced balsamic vinegar over the dish.