Rachel Weill
Sea Bream with Sunchokes, Pickled Pumpkins, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds & Watercress
magnify Click image to view more.

Sea Bream with Sunchokes, Pickled Pumpkins, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds & Watercress

Teague Moriarty, Sons & Daughters, Matt McNamara / April 2011

For 2 servings

Roasted pumpkin seeds:
• 1 cup pumpkin seeds
• salt
• 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
• 1/8 tsp. paprika
• canola oil

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Place seeds on baking sheet; season; sprinkle with sugar and paprika; drizzle with just enough oil to coat; bake until brown and crunchy (about 20 minutes); remove from oven; cool; place in airtight container; cover; reserve.

Pickled pumpkins:
• 1 sm. pumpkin, halved, seeds and pith removed
• 2 cups Champagne vinegar
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup salt

  1. Cut out pumpkin rounds with 1/2" ring mold; slice rounds into 1/8" thick discs on mandoline; reserve.

  2. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil; reduce heat to medium-high; add pumpkin; cook until just al dente; removed from heat; cool; place in airtight container; reserve in refrigerator.

Sunchoke puree:
* 1 Tbsp. canola oil
* 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
* 2 cups sunchokes, peeled and roughly chopped
* 1 cup vegetable stock, plus more as needed
* 1 cup half-and-half
* salt

  1. Heat oil and butter in a skillet set over medium heat; add onion; sweat; add sunchokes, stock, and half-and-half; reduce heat to low; cover with parchment paper round; cook until sunchokes soften (about 35 minutes); remove from heat.

  2. Working in batches, place in a blender; blend until smooth, adding a little stock as needed; season; place in a saucepan; reserve (keep warm).

Lemon/honey foam:
• 8 lemons, juiced
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• 2/5 tsp. xanthan gum
• 1 1/3 tsps. versawhip (see note below)

  1. Bring juice, 1/2 cup water, and honey to a boil in a saucepan; add salt; adjust tartness/sweetness with more honey and water as needed (mixture should taste like very concentrated lemonade); remove from heat; cool; reserve.

  2. Place 2 cups reserved syrup in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment; gradually mix in xanthan gum on low speed until fully dissolved (mixture should thicken slightly); increase speed to high; add versawhip; mix until consistency of shaving cream (about 5 minutes); remove from mixer; cover with plastic wrap; reserve.

Watercress coulis:
• 1 bunch watercress, blanched
• 1/8 tsp. Dijon mustard
• extra-virgin olive oil
• salt

  1. Place watercress and mustard in a blender; with the motor running, gradually add enough oil and water to create a thick puree; blend until emulsified and smooth; season; strain through fine chinois into clean bowl; cover with plastic wrap; reserve.

Assembly:
• 12 slices sunchokes, sliced 1/16" thick on mandoline and held in acidulated water
• lemon juice
• Maldon sea salt
• 2 Tbsps. grapeseed oil
• 2  4- to 6-oz. sea bream fillets

  1. Drain sunchokes; place in a bowl; drizzle with juice; season; toss to coat; reserve.

  2. Heat oil in a skillet set over high heat; add fish skin side down; sear; reduce heat to low; cook until almost cooked through; flip; cook until completely cooked through; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  3. To serve, place a dollop of sunchoke puree in center of each plate; scatter a few pumpkin discs on top of each; top with sea bream; drizzle watercress coulis around edges of plate; scatter pumpkin seeds on top; arrange sunchoke slices in a circle around rim; siphon a dollop of honey/lemon foam on top of fish, letting half fall onto plate.

What to drink: Edmunds St. John Bone Jolly Gamay El Dorado County Gamay 2009 Food Arts Note: Versawhip can be purchased online from Willpowder at www.willpowder.net or L'Epicerie at www.lepicerie.com.