A small filet of sea bass.
Frozen turkey bacon.
In order to challenge myself, I will often try to use the random “leftover” items in my fridge… and somehow pair them together. Items that might not necessarily be an obvious match… but find a common denominator to unite them.
Herbs and spices work wonders when “tying” foods together. Rendering the fat from bacon/duck/goose also aid in marrying the elements.
How does this work?
Take the four “random items” listed above. First, heat a sauté pan on medium high heat, then add the turkey bacon. After cooking until crispy and dark red/brown, remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb the excess fat from the cooked bacon and allow the bacon to crisp even further (if the bacon remained in its own pool of fat, it would become soggy).
And we all know that there is nothing worse than soggy bacon.
Next, season the sea bass (skin on) with smoked sea salt, herbs de Provence, a touch of cayenne pepper, drizzle of lemon juice and oregano on both sides. Reheat the bacon fat on medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the sea bass – skin-side down first. As the fish is cooking, place a plate atop the fish. This will allow for the skin to cook evenly (rather than curling at the ends). Leave the fish cooking with the plate atop for about one minute. Remove the plate and allow to cook until skin begins to crisp (about 4-5 minutes), until almost cooked through. Flip the fish and cook for an additional minute (in order to get a nice sear and color on the second side).
Remove the bass as soon as it begins to flake (it will continue to cook throughout from the heat generated in the initial sauté). Deglaze the bottom of the sauté pan with red wine and a touch of vinegar. Add some chicken stock and reduce to create a sauce. Reduce to a thick-consistency (not quite as thick as molasses). Season with the same herbs/flavors as the fish: smoked sea salt, herbs de Provence, a touch of cayenne pepper, drizzle of lemon juice and oregano.
In order to incorporate more protein into the meal, I simply poached two eggs (I’ll write about poaching eggs soon… it can be intimidating at first). Fried/sunny-side up eggs may also be substituted… but be sure to keep the yolk “runny” (it will provide a natural ‘sauce’ when breaking the yolk with a fork).
In plating, add the lettuce leaves to the bottom of the plate. Strategically place the poached eggs, sea bass (skin side up) and turkey bacon on top of the lettuce. Drizzle the sauce on the plate.
Now how does this tie-together.
The sea bass was cooked in the bacon fat. The brownings from the sea bass were used to create a sauce. The sauce was seasoned with the same herbs/flavors as the fish. When cutting into the plate, the egg yolk will combine with the sauce and pool over the entire plate, binding it into common flavors.
Sure, eaten separately, the elements would have been decent. Good, even. But together, they formed an even better dish, bursting with flavors and colors.
“Today, surround yourself with positive people who will push you towards greatness!” - Anonymous
Umm. Did I just sneak in a “life-lesson” in a cooking lesson?
Love y’all, dearly! ♥