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Boston, MA, United States
Free lance Chef. A Middlebury, Vermont native, Chef Jon Sargent worked his way up through the ranks of kitchens starting as a dishwasher. His career in the kitchen has taken him across the country and back. Sargent moved to Boston first in 2005 where he helped open OM Restaurant | Lounge in Harvard Square, working under chef Rachel Klein. He then headed west to Wisconsin, taking a Sous Chef position at Stout's Island Lodge. Next he headed south, travelling to Naples Florida to work for the D'Amico Corporation with chef Andrew Wicklander. Back in Boston chef Jon worked as chef d' cuisine for Chef William Kovel at 28 degrees in the south end of Boston where he worked diligently on the restaurant's seasonal, globally-influenced menu. After taking up the ranks as sous chef at Catalyst restaurant in cambridge massachusetts, Jon has been on a journey of developing his style of cooking, and focusing on the development of his own restaurant.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lets talk fish

How about cod, you cant come to new England without getting a cod dish, even blue cod or pullock. These fish are generally found in the arctic Atlantic waters and are fished during their breeding season having a common weight between 10 and 25 pounds, some have been recorded at weighing upwards of 150 pounds. Another thing you might want to know before i continue is what a nage is, a nage is commonly a flavored poaching liquid seasoned with white wine and cream. So lets get started.

Making the nage
1 qt heavy cream
2 cups fish stock or fumet
1/4 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
1/2 white onion small diced
1/2 bulb of fennel sliced
1/4# butter

In a medium sized sauce pot sweat down onions garlic and fennel in butter until soft, pour in white wine and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Now add the heavy cream and reduce until you have reached 50% reduction, now add fish fumet and bring up to a simmer. Once you have achieved a simmer pass the liquid through a strainer and add back to the pot (discard the strained out veggies) and reduce again until you have reached a 50% liquid yeild. should be 3 cups, season with salt and fresh black pepper.

Now were gonna talk about a brondade, this is a classic french dish of salt cod and potatoes mixed with olive oil and salt and pepper. So lets get started on that 

3 yukon potatoes
2 cloves garlic
5 sprigs thyme
2 tbl black pepper corns
5 tbl Extra virgin olive oil 
1/3 cup creme fraiche
5oz salt cod soaked in water for at least 2 hours.
1 cup milk.

Add soaked salt cod into a small pot and cover with milk, bring to a simmer and keep there for about 10 minutes. strain off milk and reserve cod. In a large sauce pot add potatoes garlic thyme and pepper corns, cover with water and bring up to a simmer and keep there until potatoes are cooked through. Do not peel. once potatoes are cook pull from water and put in a medium mixing bowl, smash the potatoes down with a fork until broken open, add cod, olive oil, and creme fraiche mix until all is incorporated, be sure to break up the potatoes. season with salt and pepper.

Now this alone is quite a good meal brandade and nage, lets take it up a little though. If followed these recipes will probably feed 6-8 people, so have 6-8 portions of cod, blue cod or pullock about 6 oz each skin on, also be sure to have a handful of fava beans, white pearl onions, baby carrots cut into small round cylinders and some pre cooked bacon lardones or cooked chorizo sausage small dice. Once the nage is about finished you can add the vegetables and let steep in the cream until cooked.

Now lets cook the fish. Most important make sure the scales are all off from the fish. Be sure your pan is very hot before adding your oil, and be sure your oven is preheated to 375. Get the oil to smoke lightly, not rolling smoke, now season the meat side of your fish and place skin side down in the oil once the fish is in the pan be sure to press and hold down the center of the fish for about 1 min as the skin tends to pull inward causing a pocket of un seared skin (do not use your hand to hold the fish down try a spatula). Once you have light browning around the edges put the fish into the oven. WATCH YOUR FISH!!!! When the exposed side of the fish turns white pull your fish from the oven and flip it. Now you can plate. How I like to plate this dish would be either in a bowl or on a square plate. I would put a pile of brondade down on the plate/bowl in the center, place fish on top of the brandade, now spoon sauce a veggies over a corner of the fish and onto the plate/bowl being sure to get some of each of the components.
Enjoy your meal most of all.

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