February 19, 2009

Salt Crusted Wild Striped Bass

Last night for Wednesday Night Chef's Bistro Dinner, Terry roasted a 30 pound wild striped bass that I described earlier in the week. There really is nothing like a fresh caught fish.

The method he used for making it is easy to do at home. Originally, I thought he was using the oven because of the stone, but actually we had to use the bread oven because it was the only oven big enough to fit the fish. Most people will settle for a 4 - 6 pound fish, which is a lot easier to handle.

The salt crust seasons the flesh of the fish as it cooks, but also forms prevents the fish from getting dried out and keeps all the juices in.

1 can or 26.4 ounces coarse sea salt
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups egg whites
½ cup fresh rosemary chopped
½ cup thyme chopped

1 4# whole wild striped bass or other whole fish, gutted and cleaned
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 lemon, sliced
½ orange, sliced

Egg yolks
Coarse sea salt

In the bowl of a mixer, combine salt, flour, egg whites, rosemary and thyme. Using a dough hook, mix ingredients together. Add water to consistency of playdough, firm yet elastic enough to enclose the fish without breaking. Set aside in an airtight container or plastic wrap.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Stuff the gut of the fish with garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon, orange and salt and pepper to taste. Line a sheet tray or pan that is large enough to hold the fish with parchment paper. Roll out half the salted dough to ½” thick. Place sheet on parchment paper. Lay fish over top. Roll out the remaining salt mixture to ½ “ thick and drape over the top of the fish. Gently push down to create a tight seal with the salted dough and secure tightly. Trim the edges. Make sure there are no holes. Use extra dough trimmings to patch any weak spots.

Brush egg yolks all over the covered fish. Cover with additional coarse sea salt.

Bake in oven until golden brown, approximately 40 minutes, or internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F in the thickest part of the fish. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Gently cut/peel off the salt crust. Remove from crust if desired. Serve with marinated fingerling potatoes, shaved fennel, nicoise olives, parsley coulis and lemon oil.

February 16, 2009

February 18 Chef's Dinner

Last Wednesday was Terry's first Chef's Bistro Dinner, and it was a full house! I think everyone in attendance would agree that it was a great dinner. The piece de resistance was the Lancaster County Farm Suckling Pig which he stuffed with ground pork loin and house made sausage. The pig was roasted whole and then served with grilled radicchio, fennel and apple.

This Wednesday, Terry plans to cook up a 30 pound striped bass that he will crust with salt and roast in our stone bread oven. The striper comes from Terry's favorite fish monger Tony McCarthy who he met during his days as Chef at the original Striped Bass. Tony is a one man show. Rather than buying at the fish market, he actually goes direct to fisherman to get his seafood. Although the suckling pig was the highlight of last week's dinner, Tony was able to secure incredibly fresh sea scallops from Viking Village for a ceviche, and Cape May Squid that Terry braised and served with hand rolled garganelli pasta. A 30 pound fish is likely to serve only 25 people, so arrive early to ensure you get a piece of this fresh catch! Dinner starts at 8 PM!

February 10, 2009

First Chef's Dinner - February 11

Since Thien's departure, people have been asking whether the Wednesday night Chef's Dinner will continue. The answer is "Absolutely Yes!" Even the sous chefs and I don't know what's on the menu for February 11th, but I do know that Terence ordered a suckling pig from Lancaster Farm Fresh...

Speaking of pork, one of the new dishes on the menu is the braised pork belly which Terence braises in white wine and chicken stock. The dish includes a piece of tender pork belly, a slice of roasted granny smith apple stuffed with house made sausage and a shaved fennel salad with prosciutto di parma.