Hogfish à la Plancha

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Florida Keys & Key West Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Conch Republic

  • Yield: 2 Servings


For the salt cod croquettes
  • ½ pound skinless, boneless salt cod
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying
For the carambola and clementine beurre blanc
  • 3 carambolas (star fruit)
  • 1 clementines juice
  • 1 750 ml) bottle white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 lime
  • Salt
For the fish
  • (6-ounce) hogfish fillets, skin on, scaled, and cleaned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
    To make the salt cod croquettes
  1. Place salt cod in a medium bowl. Cover cod with cold water and refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 2 days. Change the water at least 3 times.
  2. Drain salt cod and transfer it to a large saucepan. Add milk, thyme, bay leaf, and smashed garlic. Add water to the pan to cover the fish by 2 inches. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the fish flakes with a fork. Transfer fish to a plate and allow it to cool. Flake fish and set aside.
  3. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl along with 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Mash potatoes to a coarse puree. Set aside.
  4. Place olive oil in a small sauté pan over mediumhigh heat. Add shallots and minced garlic and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of potatoes. Add flaked salt cod, cilantro, and egg yolk and stir until well mixed. Cover bowl and refrigerate mixture at least 30 minutes, until well chilled.
  5. Whisk eggs and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Place flour and bread crumbs in separate small bowls. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Form the salt cod mixture into 1-inch balls. Dredge balls in flour, then dip them in the beaten eggs, then dredge them in bread crumbs until well coated. Arrange the croquettes on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes, or until needed.
  6. To make the beurre blanc
  7. Thinly slice carambolas so that they look like stars. Place them in a large saucepot with clementine juice, wine, sugar, and vanilla bean. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and tender and wine has reduced by one-third. Set aside until ready to serve.
  8. To prepare the fish
  9. Preheat oven to 400°F. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until nearly smoking. Add olive oil and gently place the fish in the pan, skin-side down. Place your spatula on the fish to prevent it from curling and to establish an even sear on the skin. Sear the fish for 1 minute, then transfer pan to oven and finish fish for about 3–5 minutes, until fish flakes with a fork. Remove fish from pan, cover, and keep it warm until plating.
  10. To prepare the brassica
  11. While fish is cooking, heat a medium sauté pan over high heat until nearly smoking. Add olive oil and place greens in the pan. Sauté until all leaves are wilted, about 1½ minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain greens in a colander.
  12. To finish the beurre blanc and croquettes
  13. Place saucepot of carambolas over low heat. Slowly whisk in butter, a few cubes at a time. Add a squeeze of lime and salt to taste. Pour beurre blanc through a sieve into a clean medium saucepan placed on a warm spot on the stove.
  14. Place ½ inch of vegetable oil in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in two batches, fry croquettes, turning once, until golden all over, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a platter.
  15. To plate and serve
  16. Place half of the wilted brassica down the center of each dinner plate. Ladle beurre blanc around the brassica. Place a hogfish fillet atop each serving of wilted brassica. Place 3 salt cod croquettes around the fish (1 o’clock, 5 o’clock, 9 o’clock) on the beurre blanc.

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