For my money, there is nothing better than being a fly on the wall in a top notch kitchen. Watching a talented chef doing what they love is akin to a trip to the opera (or maybe that's just me). I had such a experience when I asked Arik Bensimon, Executive Chef at Napa and Co. to share a recipe from his current repertoire. And what's a recipe without a proper beauty shot? For this, we had to make the dish. Join us in the kitchen for Chef Arik's Black Sea Bass with Chickpeas, Artichokes and Blood Oranges.
It starts with a fish. This particular fish was from Wild Edibles based in NY, and a finer Black Sea Bass you've never seen. (Commuters can pick up their own catch at the Wild Edibles location in the Grand Central Market). Home cooks will likely skip the next two steps, but if you decide to scale and butcher your fish, be prepared for some clean up. Scales were flying…
When filleting the Sea Bass here are some helpful tips, (or have your fish monger handle this). For the brave and seaworthy, once the scales have been scraped off, get out a sharp, but not an overly sharp knife, as Chef Arik says you will end up cutting through the bones if your implement is too lethal. The head is cut off just under the front fins, and then a cut is made along the belly of the fish. Guts are removed and cavity is washed out. Then cut from belly to tail along both sides to reveal the fillets.
Chef Arik likes to make a few small incisions in his fillets to help the fish lay flat when cooking as fresh fish tends to curl once it hits the heat, plus the openings will allow herbs and seasonings to better absorb through the skin. With this beautiful fillet in hand, you can head to your kitchen and follow the directions below.
Black Sea Bass, Chickpeas, Artichokes and Blood Oranges
1 Black Bass Scaled and filleted
¼ Pound chickpeas soaked over night in water
1 stalk of celery
¼ onion diced
3 san marzano tomatoes and their juice
1 clove of garlic
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Blood orange segmented and juice the leftover
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Butter
For the chick peas:
The night before, soak the chickpeas in water, the next day drain and rinse them well.
Put the chickpeas along with the diced celery, onion, and chopped tomatoes with their juices in a pot. Add the thyme Bay leaf and garlic clove, cover with water, cook on low heat adding more water when necessary. Chick peas should be creamy when cooked. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and let cool. Pick out the herbs and garlic clove.
For the Artichoke:
Trim and clean the artichoke, cut into quarters, you just want the heart, keep in water with lemon until ready to cook.
Toss the Artichoke with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, roast in a 300-degree oven until cooked through.
Season the fish with salt on both sides, Get a non stick pan hot add a little oil, and sear the fish skin side down, half way through the cooking add a teaspoon of butter and baste the fish until just cooked through. Reserve in a warm place while you prepare your garnish.
Add some chick peas to a pan with a touch of butter, thin out with some water and heat through, you want them to be creamy, and a few drops of lemon juice and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Finish with chop parsley.
Reheat the artichoke either in the oven or on the stove top with oil.
Blood orange brown butter sauce:
Brown the butter on the stove top take off the heat add the blood orange juice, and segments, a pinch of salt and chop parsley.
Place a spoon of chickpeas on the plate scatter the artichokes, place the fish on top and spoon the sauce on the fish.