Talk about a showpiece! I have a diverse collection of cookbooks and this particular recipe is from a book, ‘Hot Chefs Hip Cuisine’. This recipe comes from Joël Antunes. Sometimes you look at a food photo and just know it’s going to taste good!
4 (200g/7oz) Chilean sea bass fillets
1/2 cup of sake
1/2 cup of mirin
100ml rice wine vinegar
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
50g (1/4 cup) miso paste
500g (1 lb.) eggplant
30ml (1/8 cup) of lemon juice
1/2 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
10g fresh thyme
1/4 cup hazelnut oil
Tomato and Lemon Grass Broth:
250g vine tomatoes
1/2 onion peeled and roughly chopped
1/8 cup of honey
1/8 cup soya sauce
1 lemon grass
5 coriander leaves
1.5 liters (6 1/3 cups) water
butter, salt and pepper
Marinate the sea bass fillets in the sake, mirin, vinegar, sugar & miso paste for 6 hours. Preheat the oven to 220c (420f). Place the fish fillets in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of marinade and roast in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and grill for a few seconds to allow the skin to become golden brown.
Preheat oven to 190c (375f). Peel eggplant and cut into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Toss in the remaining eggplant caviar ingredients (excluding oil) and wrap up in aluminum foil. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and add hazelnut oil.
Lightly pan fry tomatoes and onion over medium heat, then add remaining broth ingredients. Stir well then add water and simmer for 1-2 hours. Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a muslin strainer. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper.
Place each fillet in the middle of a plate and top with a quenelle of eggplant caviar. Garnish with some coriander and spoon some tomato and lemon grass broth around the fish.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: This is a beautiful way to serve sea bass. Silky smooth are the words that best describe the texture of this fish. I have to say, however, the eggplant caviar was a bit too sweet for me so the next time I’ll reduce the sugar.