The inspiration for this dish came from my recent dinner at 212 in Amsterdam. I really liked the cod with red wine sauce, and thought it would be nice to prepare something similar. If only because everyone seems to think red wine doesn’t go with fish — which is not always true. For this to work, the wine (both the wine for the sauce and the wine you will drink with the dish) should not be too tannic, so a Pinot Noir from a cooler climate such as Burgundy is a great choice. Rather than cod I used turbot, which I prefer for both flavor and texture. But you could prepare this wine any white fish. For the sauce I made a stock using the head and bones of the turbot. This is what gives body to the sauce, and it also helps to make the sauce work with the fish.
The garnishes are also inspired by the dish at 212: sea lavender and chanterelle mushrooms. Sea lavender is a plant that grows near the sea. Its leaves are somewhat salty, although not as salty as samphire (also known as salicornia or sea asparagus). In Dutch it is called lamsoor (lamb’s ear). This is not a recreation of the dish at 212, as I left out the other elements. This ends up being a fairly simple dish to prepare, with great effect and worthy of a fancy dinner party.
For 2 servings
1 turbot of about 900 grams (2 lbs), filleted and skinned, head and bones reserved for the stock
120 ml (1/2 cup) Pinot Noir or similar red wine
40 grams (1/4 cup) each of chopped onion, carrot, and celery for the stock
4 thyme sprigs, a bay leaf, a minced garlic clove, and a minced shallot
2 Tbsp butter
12 chanterelle mushrooms
12 sea lavender leaves
salt and freshly ground white pepper
Season the turbot fillets on both sides with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Vacuum seal them individually and refrigerate.
To make the stock, make sure the innards, gills, and eyes of the turbot have been removed. Rinse the head and bones with cold water. Put the head and bones in a pot and barely cover with water.
Bring to a boil, then remove the scum that will rise to the surface using a skimmer.
Add chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Sieve the stock.
Reduce the stock over medium heat to about 250 ml (1 cup).
Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan. Add shallot, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Season with salt. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft and slightly golden. Do not allow the garlic or shallot to brown by too much. This mixture should smell great.
Add the wine…
…and the reduced stock.
Bring to a boil…
…and allow to simmer until reduced to about 120 ml (1/2 cup).
Sieve the sauce. Allow the sauce to reduce over low heat to about 4 tablespoons (60 ml). The sauce will become quite thick without using any thickener. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the turbot sous-vide for about 10 minutes at 50C/122F.
While the sauce is reducing and the turbot is in the sous-vide, sauté the chanterelle mushrooms in the remaining tablespoon of butter…
…and blanch the sea lavender briefly (30 seconds or so) in boiling water.
Allow the chantarelles to drain on paper towels. Season with salt.
A trick I use that helps to serve the turbot slightly warmer and to kill any germs that may be on the outside, is to pour some boiling water over the bags (a bit on both sides of each bag) after I take them out the sous-vide.
Serve the fish on preheated plates with the chanterelles, sea lavender, and the red wine sauce.
This is great with a Pinot Noir from a cooler climate such as Burgundy, served slightly chilled (about 15C/58F).
These strawberry tartlets (strawberries with pastry cream on a sweet shortcrust pastry crust) are a classic. You could make a large tart, but it looks much better and is easier to serve when you make individual tartlets.