I love many types of fish, but one of my favorites is Sea Bass; if cooked well, you will end up with a moist delicious fish. As with most "Lean" fish, you cannot overcook it as it will turn dry and rubbery. I was inpired by Dave Pasternack's recipe from his book "The Young Man & The Sea", if you do not own this cook book, I suggest you order one through Amazon and have in your collection as an essential.
There are many methods for cooking fish, I used a steaming technique with parchment paper. In Italy, it is called Cartoccio and in France, it is Papillote. You enclose the fish, seasoning and sauce in a paper parchment and tightly fold the parchment so that the steam does not escape. When baked (usually takes no more than 12 minutes), the paper puffs up and turns golden brown (when covered with an egg wash) and all the flavors, juices and aromas are held inside covering your fish. The parchment is usually sliced on the top to serve to your guest. Enjoy my version of this recipe that was altered from the original. However, the original is just as delicious.
You can alter this recipe with other fruit such as pears and figs (I've done this as well and it is delicious). Enjoy!
Sea Bass In Cartoccio with Carmelized Apple and Cinzano
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 Gala apples, peeled and cut medium dice
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 oz of dried Porcini mushrooms (hydrated in water for 30 minutes), chop
1 tablespoons of tarragon
1 tablespoons of thyme
1 tablespoons of chives
1 garlic clove minced
1 large egg for egg wash
6 4-6 ounces (depending of size you wish to serve) of Sea Bass
6 Tablespoons Washington Gala Apple Juice (if available in your State) or any organic apple juice
3 Tablespoons of Cinzano or cooking vermouth
6 squares of parchment (20x15)
Preheat oven to 450F
Rehydrate Porcini (if you do not have fresh) in cold water just reaching above the top of the porcini. Leave in water for about 20 minutes until well hydrated. When hydrated, squeeze water from porcini mushrooms and chop.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat; in a saute pan and add the diced apples. Using a spatula, toss apples lightly until they are carmelized. Careful not to mash the apples while carmelizing. Transfer apples to a sheet pan to cool.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan and heat over a medium-high flame; add the porcini and saute, stirring frequently, until browned add garlic and stir just at the end. Transfer porcini to a sheet pan to cool.
Chop and mix tarragon, thyme and chives. Set aside.
Combine apple juice and Cinzano. Set aside.
Cut remaining butter in 1/2 tablespoon squares. Set aside.
After apples and porcini have cooled completely, combine and make six piles on the sheet pan; to begin building the fish in the parchment squares.
Fold the parchment squares in half to make a crease. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the center of each square with a pinch of salt and a pinch of white pepper and coat both sides of fish. Place fish on parchment and layer with apples and porcini, mixed herbs and place two 1/2 tablespoons on top of fish. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of apple juice and Cizano over each fish.
Fold corners of each parchment first and then twist edges all around to seal. Brush parchment with egg wash and place on sheet pan.
Bake packets for about 8 - 12 minutes. If you have opted to serve 4 ounces of fish, it will take about 8-9 minutes, for a 6 ounce fish, it will take about 12 minutes. Bake packets until the paper has puffed up and turned golden brown. Transfer packets to serving plates. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the top of the packet in a cross, to open packet easily.
Preparing the Sea Bass on parchment with olive oil, salt and pepper
Placing the apples and porcini on the sea bass
I served the Sea Bass with a Black and Mohogany Rice Cake, which complimented the flavors of the fish very well.
You can also make this recipe with Halibut or Salmon!