- 2 eggplants, medium sized (3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter)
- Homemade herb oil, recipe follows
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 7 onions, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 4 fennel, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick, reserve the tops for the striped bass and for garnishing the plate
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 3 zucchini, sliced into 24 (1/4-inch) rings *
- 3 yellow squash, sliced into 24 (1/4-inch) rings *
- 5 tomatoes, sliced into 24 (1/4-inch) rings *
- Basil Cream, recipe follows
- Cook's Note* : Be aware that when purchasing the following items you try to get them all to be the same in diameter for presentation.
For the striped bass:
8 (7 to 8-ounce) striped bass fillets, skin-on
1 cup chopped fennel tops, reserved from above
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable Tian: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch rounds. Liberally coat the eggplant in herb oil and season with salt and black pepper. Spread the eggplant out in 1 layer in a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are fully cooked and soft to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the sliced onion, fennel, and thyme and allow the mixture to cook while stirring frequently. Once the onions and fennel have wilted, about 5 minutes, add the sugar and continue to cook until all excess liquid has dissolved and the mixture begins to caramelize on the bottom of the pan. This takes about 30 minutes. Add the golden raisins. Deglaze the pan with the Champagne vinegar and mix well. Mix in the toasted pine nuts and remove any stems of the thyme. Let cool.
Place the roasted eggplant rings on sheet pan spaced equally apart. Top off each ring with the onion and fennel mixture, forming a flat base for the zucchini, yellow squash and tomato slices. Alternate the zucchini, yellow squash and tomato slices around the top of the onion and fennel mixture by layering each piece on top of one another in a circle, tucking under the last piece to form a full, cohesive circle. Top each tian with herb oil, salt and black pepper. Place in the oven to heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
In a pot over medium heat, heat the basil cream and check for seasoning.
Preheat a grill to high.
Working with the skin side up, use a sharp knife and cut on the bias, to make an incision in the center of each fillet. The incision should not go all the way through to the other side, but should create a pocket. Stuff each incision with a healthy pinch of the fennel tops. Season each fillet with salt and pepper and coat them with homemade herb oil. Grill over high heat. Each fillet will take approximately 6 to 8 minutes to cook (3 to 4 minutes on each side).
Using a spatula, carefully place a vegetable tian on each plate. Pour the basil cream around each tian. Place 1 of the striped bass fillets on each plate. Garnish the plate with the remaining fennel tops.
Homemade Herb Oil:
1 cup rosemary leaves, stems removed
2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup tarragon leaves
1/4 cup thyme leaves
Place the rosemary and the olive oil in a blender and cover. Blend on high speed until the roasemary has been ground into small pieces. Add the tarragon and thyme and continue blending until all the herbs have been broken down into small pieces. Pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 2 3/4 cups oil
Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook Time: none
Inactive Prep Time: none
Key Words: herb oil
2 cups white wine
4 cups cream
4 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
1 tablespoon salt
In a saucepot, add the white wine and garlic cloves. Over medium heat, allow the wine to reduce by half. Add the cream and salt and bring to a boil. Add the basil to the cream and allow it to cook for 1 minute, making sure it is fully immersed so no browning occurs. In a blender, blend the cream mixture in a medium sized batches on high until the mixture is bright green (about 2 or 3 minutes*).
Immediately pour the cream into a container resting in ice to chill. Stir constantly. Continue this process until all the cream is blended and cooled rapidly.
**When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Yield: 5 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 5 minutes
Key Words: cream, basil
* Professional Recipe
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.