Black Sea Bass in Spring Vegetable Broth
- For the Aioli:
- 1 clove garlic
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 large pasteurized egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- For the broth and fish:
- 6 small spring onions
- 1/2 small fennel bulb (with fronds)
- 1 celery stalk, halved crosswise
- 1 small carrot, halved crosswise
- 2 sprigs parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 pound fresh fava beans
- 1 1/4 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, halved
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 5 -to-6-ounce black sea bass fillets, pin bones removed
- Crusty bread, toasted, for serving
Make the aioli: Mince the garlic, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mash with the flat side of a chef's knife to make a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl; add the mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice and egg yolk and whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then the vegetable oil, whisking constantly until smooth; whisk in 1 teaspoon water to loosen. Cover and refrigerate the aioli until ready to use.
Make the broth: Trim the spring onions to about 6 inches; transfer the tops to a large saucepan (set the bulbs aside). Trim the fennel and thinly slice; transfer 1 cup fennel fronds to the saucepan (set the sliced fennel aside). Add the celery, carrot, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, peppercorns and 8 cups water to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium and cook, 15 minutes.
Remove the fava beans from their pods. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the fava beans and cook 1 minute; drain and rinse under cold water. Slip off the skins; set the beans aside.
Strain the vegetable broth into a wide pot. Add the potatoes and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the reserved spring onion bulbs and the tomatoes to the broth; simmer 5 minutes.
Make the fish: Score each fish fillet crosswise 3 or 4 times on the skin side (do not cut through to the flesh). Season the flesh side with salt. Add the fish to the pot; add the fava beans and reserved sliced fennel, cover and cook until the fish is just opaque, about 6 minutes.
Divide the potatoes among shallow bowls; top each with a fish fillet, then divide the broth and vegetables among the bowls. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and top each with a spoonful of aioli. Serve with bread and the remaining aioli.
Photograph by Christina Holmes
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