Fancy attempting a Michelin chef’s recipe? Try this Spring dish from the wonderfully talented, and one of my favourite chefs, Ross Lewis.
There are elements you can take on, or leave out, depending on how much time you have as there is a lot involved. It takes some love and attention, but it’s worth it.
Steamed Sea bass with salt baked organic celeriac,rope mussels in a Craigie’s cider dressing and tarragon essence with roasted Jerusalem artichoke.
N.B. read the recipe before beginning and begin with your tarragon gel the day before, if using
For the mussels
1 kilo mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
Heat 200ml of water in a pan large enough to hold the mussels. When the water comes to the boil, put in the cleaned mussels and close the lid. Cook over a medium high heat, shaking occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until the shells have opened. Remove from the heat and drain in a colander, reserving the juices. When cool, remove from the shells.
For the Apple Vinaigrette
500ml Craigie’s cider reduced to 100ml
5ml apple balsamic vinegar
200ml mussel juices, reduced to 100ml
150g grape seed oil
Combine the cider, vinegar and mussel stock; whisk together and then monté in the grape seed oil, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated and emulsified.
For the Mussel glaze
Place 150ml of the apple vinaigrette in a small pan and reduce to a glaze.
For the Jerusalem artichoke
8 medium evenly sized Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed.
pinch of salt
Heat the butter in a sauté pan with a lid. As it starts to foam, add the artichokes and salt and put on the lid. Cook over a medium heat, turning occasionally until they are golden brown – this will take around 20 minutes. When the artichokes are soft, add the water and replace the lid. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan; the artichokes should be completely cooked and tender.
For the celeriac puree
300g celeriac, finely sliced
50g unsalted butter
Sweat the celeriac in the butter in a medium pan until translucent. Add the milk and cream and cover with a cartouche. Cook over a low heat until completely tender, then puree in a blender until smooth and velvety. Season with salt to taste, and pass through a chinois. If not using immediately, chill the puree in the fridge, where it will keep for 3-4 days. To serve, heat in a pan and put into a squeezy bottle.
For the celeriac ribbons
1 small new season celeriac, trimmed and peeled
500ml fish stock (-see recipe appendix)
Place the fish stock in a pan and bring to the boil.
Use a Japanese ribbon slicer to cut long ribbons of celeriac approximately 5cm x30cm (alternatively, use a vegetable peeler)
When ready to serve, poach in the simmering fish stock for 30 seconds.
For the Monk’s beard
Small handful of monk’s beard; 3 or 4 pieces per person, washed and trimmed (alternatively use samphire or shaved asparagus)
35g Butter, diced
Heat two tablespoons of water in a small sauté pan; when it starts to boil, begin whisking in the butter, a little a time, until it is all incorporated and emulsified. Add the monk’s beard and cook over a medium heat-for a minute or so, until wilted. Drain, season and serve.
8 x 150g portions of sea bass, skinned and cut into escalopes.
Put each portion of sea bass onto squares of buttered greaseproof paper. Season generously with salt and black pepper and cook in a steamer for 5 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked.
20ml tarragon gel (–see recipe appendix), put into a squeezy bottle
1 granny smith apple
Peel the apples and cut into 2-3mm dice.
To serve, heat the mussels with the diced apple in the cider dressing.
Spoon the warmed celeriac puree on to the right of the plate and put the sea bass and celeriac ribbons on top. Add the Jerusalem artichoke and then spoon over the mussels in their sauce.
(N.B. this needs to be begun the day before it is needed)
2 bunches tarragon
Bring a large pan of water to a vigorous boil. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of iced water. Blanch the tarragon for ten seconds in the boiling water and then lift out using a spider and put straight into the iced water. When cold, drain the tarragon and put into a paco tub. Place in the freezer and freeze overnight, or until completely solid. Paco the tarragon three times, then add an equal volume of ice cold water and mix well. Pass through a double layer of muslin, pressing well to extract all the juice. May be thickened using ‘Quick and Easy.’
(Note; for clam stock and shellfish stock – the method is exactly the same, just substitute an equal weight of clam shells and trim, or whichever shellfish you want to use)
3kg fish bones
30ml light olive oil
5 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
2 heads fennel, sliced
1 head of celery, chopped
200ml dry white wine
2 litres water
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the shallots, garlic and herbs over a medium heat until soft. Turn up the heat and add the fennel, celery and carrots; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown. Add the vermouth and wine and reduce by half, then put in the fish bones and water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes then take off the heat. Add the tarragon, basil, mint and lemon and allow to cool. When the stock reaches room temperature strain through a colander and then through a double layer of muslin, then refrigerate. Be sure to use this stock within two days – alternatively, store in the freezer where it will keep for four weeks.