Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sea Bass with Saffron Sauce and Cauliflower

Cooking at home is very different from cooking at culinary school.  At home I try to practice the art of one-pot single dimension cooking à la minute, aka stir-fries à la Maria.  Here's a confession:  I'm a lazy cook and so 4 out of 5 meals I cook for myself at home are just plain dull.  I take whatever I have, roughly chop and put it in a frying pan, season, and voila in ten minutes.  It's shameful meager student cooking.  I may add some different spices or condiments each time but that's as exciting and diverse as it gets.  Especially now that I'm in culinary school.  The only difference is that now I'm trying to eat more steamed foods instead of stir-fried because French culinary school's just a b*tch to the waistline.  Sometimes I just want to smack the butter out of the chef's hands and be like stop, look at what you're doing to me.  I feel like the school alone is sustaining a whole dairy farm with the sheer amount of butter and cream we use. 
Anyway, I digress.  Sometimes I take the time and actually cook myself a nice meal.  Usually it's motivated by the fact that I need to post something on my blog.  In culinary school it's pots and pans and trays and bowls and dozens of components cut and cooked with different equipment and while I can do that in two hours in school at home it's five hours.  And at school we've got kitchen porters to do most of the cleaning up (why my tuition is so cha-ching).  This dish took awhile to make at home and I would've done a lot differently if I was at school with the equipment and stuff.

This recipe is a rough guide. 

Just some ideas - add some cream or butter to the sauce at the end. Coat the cauliflower slices in a light batter an deep fry them.  French culinary school-approved.

Serves 2
Sea Bass
2 fillets of sea bass

Cauliflower Purée
1/2 head of cauliflower
100ml milk
50ml cream

Cauliflower Couscous
1/4 head cauliflower
Olive oil

Fried Cauliflower
Vegetable oil
1/4 head cauliflower

Saffron Sauce
15g shallot
15g leeks
15g fennel bulb
50ml white wine
Fish bones
pinch of saffron
1 tbsp raisins

Cauliflower Pue
Cut the cauliflower into florets and put in a pot along with milk and cream.  Bring it to a gentle simmer and cook until softened.  Take the florets out and put in a blender with a bit of the cream-milk mixture.  Blitz and add more cream-milk mixture until it's the consistency of a smooth puree.  Season. 

Cauliflower couscous
Grate the cauliflower.  In a pan heat some olive oil, add the grated cauliflower and fry until golden.  Season.

Saffron sauce
Finely chop the shallot, leeks and fennel.  Fry with a bit of olive oil until softened, no color.  Add the fish bones and fry for another minute then add the wine and reduce over high heat.  When the alcohol has cooked off, add enough water to cover and bring it up to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.  Pass through a sieve, add the saffron and raisins and bring it up to heat to reduce by half.  Season.  

Fried Saffron
Cut the remaining cauliflower head into florets and slice each floret into 0.5cm slices.  Heat some  olive oil in a pan and fry the cauliflower until golden.  Season.  

Sea bass
Lightly score the skin side of the fish.  Season both sides.  Get a pan hot, add some oil and put the fish skin side down.  Just one or two minutes until the skin is crispy and flip over and cook for another minute or two until cooked.

Serve with the cauliflower puree on the plate, fish on top, couscous around the plate, fried cauliflower on the side and sauce drizzled around. 

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