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City Palate Recipe: Avocado and Prawn Cocktail

Seafood

Pan Seared Pickerel, Citrus Salad and Saffron Vanilla Sauce

May/Jun 2009
From Catch Restaurant

Cucumber Citrus Salad

2 cucumbers, peeled
2 oz kosher salt
2 grapefruits and 2 oranges, peeled, seeded and segmented
2 oz pickled ginger (gari or sushi ginger)

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumbers into long strips except for the seedy part in the middle. Put into a bowl and add kosher salt; mix well. Let the cucumber sit for 10 minutes then rinse very well with cold water and drain thoroughly. Mix the cucumber strips together with the citrus segments and the pickled ginger. Set aside.

Saffron Vanilla Sauce
Butter
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
20 cleaned and debearded mussels
1 c. dry white wine
1 t. saffron threads
1 vanilla pod, split
1 T. whipping cream
10 oz butter, cut into cubes

In a saucepan, sweat the shallot, fennel and garlic with a little butter until soft.  Increase the heat to high and add the mussels and wine. Cover and allow the steam to cook the mussels until they all open; discard any mussels that do not open and reserve the rest. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Add the saffron, vanilla and cream and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce liquid to about 2 tablespoons, then whisk in the butter, cube by cube, off the heat and whisking constantly. The butter must slowly melt into the liquid to form an emulsification. Set aside.

Pickerel
Ask your local fishmonger to scale and bone 4  6-oz portions of pickerel (or similar white fish). Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof fry pan to hot and add olive oil; place the fish skin-side down in the pan. The fish will curl slightly so press down lightly with a spatula. Once the meat starts to turn slightly opaque, place the pan in a 400°F oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the fish skin-side down the entire time you cook it.

To serve: divide the cucumber and citrus salad among 4 bowls and place the fish on top.  Scatter 4 or 5 mussels around the side and drizzle with the saffron vanilla sauce. Serves 4.