Black sea bass is served with Kalamata olive vinaigrette.

Chef Phil's Winter Fish Dish

Lead Chef-Instructor Philipp Hering shares a seasonal seafood recipe from his special events menu.

Chef Phil's new winter dish has three elements: vegetables, fish and a vinaigrette. Here's how the special events lead chef-instructor developed the seasonal special and a sneak peek at other available menu items.

Preparing Seasonal Produce

Root vegetables are one of those things that scream winter to me. If you’ve ever gone to the farmers market in the winter, you can’t find anything but root vegetables. Not a lot of green things grow in the winter so root vegetables are the main thing that most restaurants use, and here they can serve as an accompaniment or a side. I wanted to make something simple and fun, so I roast them with a little brown butter and herbs from the hydroponic garden. Choose heartier herbs like thyme and rosemary rather than green, leafy herbs for this dish.

Sourcing Seafood

The problem with winter food is that everything is so heavy, so I wanted to pair my vegetables with something lighter: a white fish. Go to someone you trust to shop for sea bass. When you look at whole sea bass, the eyes should be clear. If they’re murky, it’s been sitting out for a while. It shouldn’t smell fishy, it should smell briny like the ocean. If it’s a fillet, you don’t want to see bruises. That’s a sign of mishandling the fish. You want a nice, even coloring on the flesh.

Cooking Technique

One of my favorite underrated ways of cooking fish is poaching. Poaching is dipping the fish in a slow simmer until it’s cooked. The fish will cook very gently so you’re not destroying the flesh and it takes on the flavor of the liquid. I made a flavorful poaching liquid using onions, garlic, lemongrass, white wine and cilantro. I let it simmer for a while, gently lower the fish in for three or four minutes, and it comes out juicy and flaky.

Special Events Menu Preview

We have some fun crowd favorites on the winter menu. We added a banana cream pie and a classic hors d'oeuvre, crab puffs. It’s a cream puff with a cream crab filling. There’s a chicken marsala on the menu, and we have a macaroni and cheese side dish.

Winter isn’t a great time to go out in New York. At ICE, we offer activities to gather friends around good food with great views. Get hands on preparing recipes like these with the pros.

Sea bass on vegetables

Recipe

Black Sea Bass with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

Yields 6 portions

Ingredients

  • 6, 7-ounce black sea bass filets, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and diced
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 quarts water
  • Kalamata olive vinaigrette (recipe below)

Directions

  1. In a large rondeau, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sweat out the lemongrass, fennel and Spanish onion until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the bay leaf and black peppercorns, and cook for another 5 minutes. Stirring frequently so the mixture does not burn.
  3. Add the white wine, and cook until the wine is reduced, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and carefully add the fish filets into the poaching liquid. Cook for 5 minutes or until opaque and cooked through.
  5. Remove from the liquid and keep warm until ready to serve.
  6. Right before service, spoon over the Kalamata olive vinaigrette.

Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 10 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the Kalamata olives and garlic together with enough oil to get it started.
  2. When the mixture is chunky, about 30 seconds, add the parsley and blend for another 30 seconds, while drizzling the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside until ready for the fish.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Fried Herb Bouquet

Yields 6 portions

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds root vegetable, large dice (celery root, rutabaga, parsnips, etc.)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. To make the herb oil: In a small sauce pot, add the olive oil and the herbs. Slowly heat the mixture until almost smoking.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the herbs. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the root vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and the herb oil.
  5. Place the seasoned vegetables onto a sheet tray and roast for about 20 minutes.
  6. Carefully turn the sheet tray in the oven and mix the vegetables. Cook for another 15 minutes or until tender.
  7. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  8. Chop the fried herbs and sprinkle onto the root vegetables.
  9. Place into the oven for another 5 minutes before serving.

See more from our seasonal menus and host your hands-on event with Chef Phil at ICE.

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