Potato-Crusted Sea Bass
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup ruby port (if desired)
3 large thyme springs or 1 tsp. dried
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 tbsp. divided butter
2 large (1 1/4 lb.) leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced and rinsed
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 dried
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 - 5 oz. pieces skinless sea bass fillets (5 x 2 x 1” thick)
2 extra large baking potatoes (6 to 7”), peeled
2 tbsp. oil
Make sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add wine and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat slightly and boil gently 15 to 20 minutes until reduced to 1 cup. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree. Strain mixture through a sieve back into saucepan. Return mixture to boil over medium heat. Mash butter with flour in a cup until blended; whisk paste into wine mixture and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes until thickened. Stir in salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, water and 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cover and cook 8 minutes, until leeks are softened. Set aside.
3. Combine thyme, garlic and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper in a cup; sprinkle onto both sides of fish fillets.
4. Cut a thin slice off of one long side of potatoes. Using a slicing blade (mandolin) slice each potato 1/8 inch thick. Pick out 24 of the widest slices. Reserve remaining strips for mashed potatoes, if desired. With short ends facing you arrange 6 slices, overlapping by 1/2 inch, side by side into a 10 x 5 inch rectangle. Arrange one fish fillet, long side facing you, across strips in center. Lift up ends of strips and wrap around fillet; press gently to adhere. Turn over and transfer, ends side down, to a cookie sheet. Repeat process with remaining potato strips and fillets. (Can be made ahead. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 hour. Potatoes will discolour but that is okay)
5. Heat remaining 5 tbsp. butter and oil in a 12” skillet over medium high heat. Carefully add fillets and cook for 4 minutes. Turn each fillet with 2 spatulas and cook 4 minutes more, until well browned.
6. Meanwhile, reheat leeks and sauce over medium heat, if needed.
7. Divide and spoon leeks onto center of 4 serving plates, then top each serving with a fish fillet. Divide and spoon sauce around fish
Pairs Well With
Not only is sea bass a great tasting fish but this dish with the potatoes covering the fish looks so ellegant when presented. If you want to impress someone with a meal this is it.