Breaded Wolffish with Anchovy-Braised Peppers

DSC09684

Wolffish is one of my favorite types of white fish, as it has a better flavor and texture than cod and its relatives. For this recipe you could also use another white fish that doesn’t flake easily (as flaky fish fillets would probably fall apart when you try to serve them this way). This is an original dish that I came up with, but its flavors are definitely inspired by the Italian cuisine. Anchovies is what combines the two elements of this dish: the bell peppers are braised with anchovies, and anchovies are also used to flavor the breadcrumbs used for breading the wolffish. You could think of this as a gourmet version of classic fish fingers. To allow the fish to shine, I breaded the fish fillets only on side. If the fish were to be breaded on all sides, the breading would overpower the fish. For additional crunch I used large dried breadcrumbs, which I made by allowing white bread to dry, grinding it in the food processor, and then using first a coarse sieve and then a fine sieve to end up with coarse breadcrumbs (you can reserve the fine breadcrumbs for another use, and put the larger pieces that don’t fall through the coarse sieve back in the food processor to grind them some more).

The combination of tender juicy fish with crunchy flavorful breading and the tender braised bell peppers works very well. This dish is both elegant and full of flavor, and worthy of a restaurant. I’ve cooked the fish sous-vide, but you could also finish cooking it in the oven instead. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

DSC09612

For 6 servings

6 pieces of skinned wolffish fillet, about 150 grams (.33 lb) each, 900 grams (2 lbs) total

2 red bell peppers

2 yellow bell peppers

2 green bell peppers

6 anchovy fillets

3 garlic cloves

1 Tbsp salted capers, rinsed and dried

1/2 cup (120 ml) large dried breadcrumbs

1 egg white, lightly beaten

flour

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation

DSC09615

Combine 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar in a small bowl, and stir until well mixed.

If you want to be very precise about curing the fish and have very accurate scales, first weigh the fish and then calculate 1.4% of that weight for the salt and 0.6% for the sugar.

DSC09616

Rub the curing mix on all sides of the fish fillets.

DSC09617

Vacuum seal and refrigerate for 1 hour.

DSC09646

After 1 hour, rinse the fish fillets under cold running water to remove the curing mix.

DSC09650

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and vacuum seal individually (if cooking the fish sous-vide).

DSC09619

Mince 2 anchovy fillets, 1 Tbsp of capers, and 1 garlic clove until very fine.

DSC09620

Sauté 1/2 cup (120 ml) of large dry breadcrumbs in olive oil together with the anchovy-caper-garlic mixture until the breadcrumbs are golden, then turn off the heat.

DSC09627

Clean 2 red, 2 yellow, and 2 green bell peppers and cut them into 3 cm (1 inch) chunks.

DSC09631

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a frying pan. Add 2 garlic cloves, cut into halves.

DSC09633

Add the bell peppers.

DSC09635

Stir over high heat until the bell peppers start to color, then lower the heat.

DSC09636

Add 4 minced anchovy fillets and allow them to melt.

DSC09639

Stir to incorporate.

DSC09652

Cook the bell peppers over low heat, stirring regularly, for about 30 minutes.

DSC09655

When they are tender, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and remove the garlic.

DSC09669

Cook the fish sous-vide for 20 minutes at 52C/126F (skip this step if cooking the fish in the oven).

DSC09670

Pat the fish dry with paper towels.

DSC09671

Dip each fillet first in flour (shaking of excess), then in egg white, and then in the sautéed breadcrumbs.

DSC09673

Do this only on one side, and arrange the fillets on a plate or a piece of kitchen paper on the other side (so the breaded side is on top).

DSC09674

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish fillets with the breaded side down, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

DSC09677

Turn the fish over. Cook for 1 minute if the fish was cooked sous-vide. If not, finish cooking the fish in the oven at 180C/350F until the core reaches a temperature of 52C/126F. It is easiest to use an oven-proof non-stick frying pan, and simply put the entire pan with the fish in the oven, and to insert an instant-read thermometer with the probe in the core (the center of the thickest part) of one of the fillets.

DSC09684

Serve the fish with the peppers on preheated plates.

Wine pairing

We enjoyed this with a nice bottle of Condrieu, the best area for Viognier in the world in the northern Rhone area. Many other complex whites with moderate to low acidity would work, too.

Flashback

DSC01190-1

Ham of lamb with salt-roasted beetroot.

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “Breaded Wolffish with Anchovy-Braised Peppers

  1. Simple but very attractive presentation! I don’t know if I can get wolffish but maybe my fish monger has it by another name. In any case I’ll make your recipe with one fish or another.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Stefan. Why did you cure the Fish? And wouldn’t the dish be even nicer if you did skin the peppers before cooking them? By the way, wolffish is what we call zeewolf?

    Like

    • Hi Sjaak. I cured the fish so it will hold its shape better and to season it throughout. I usually skin peppers by roasting them, and that would create a different flavor than I was going for here. However, I suppose you could also skin the peppers by putting them briefly in boiling water and then in cold water, but I had not thought of that. Wolffish is indeed called zeewolf in the Netherlands.

      Like

  3. Stefan! I accidentally deleted your comment on my last post about that roasted chicken. I have no idea how I did it but I did it. Anyways, thank you for dropping by and for your ever supporting and intelligent feedback. I almost wanna ask you to post your comment again so I can reply to it and have logged but I know that would be annoying 🙂 I have 2 questions though. Wolffish? never even heard of it. Why remove the garlic? Lovely crust on that fish by the way, this is a dish I would definitely enjoy. I happen to love anchovies, fish and peppers. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The comment still happened to be in my browser, so I could repost it with little effort.

      I understand there is something called pacific wolffish that is closely related to the atlantic wolffish I used for this recipe. If you can’t find it, you could try halibut. I’m sure that would be wonderful as well.

      Many Italians use a whole garlic clove to flavor the olive oil in which something is cooked, and then discard the garlic. This makes the garlic flavor more elegant instead of overpowering the other flavors, and it is also easier to digest. I’ve taken over this habit as I cook almost like a real Italian (even though I don’t have any real Italian blood that I know of).

      If you are a big garlic lover, you could even add finely minced garlic to the crust. Just make sure it won’t get too brown. (I’ve noticed that many American-Italian restaurants in the US serve dishes with browned garlic that overpowers everything. That is definitely not Italian-Italian and I hate it.)

      Like

      • I love garlic but don’t like brown garlic at all. It destroys everything that is great about garlic. I’m a garlic lover. I don’t mind strong garlic accents but can tone it down depending on the dish I’m making. I don’t like garlic mash potatoes for some reason though 🙂 Btw, I have ox tail in the sous vide bath. Trying your recommended time and temperature. 96 hours at 60C. Looking forward to it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Great! Flavor and texture are great of oxtail cooked that way. Only problem is that it won’t fall off the bone. Look forward to hearing what you think.
          Oh and I agree on not using garlic in mashed potatoes or root vegetable purees as it creates a flavor on its own that is rather overpowering rather than blending in.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve not heard of wolffish, Stefan, and googled it thinking it may be known as something else on this side of the Atlantic. That’s not the case. There probably isn’t a large enough demand to warrant shipping it this far inland. Pity because you’ve described a fish that I’d surely enjoy. The side of peppers and anchovies, however, is something I can make anytime. Given my love of anchovies, I know I’d thoroughly enjoy it and might even use it to dress pasta. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s