- 4 large ramps or scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apricot jam
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon dry English mustard mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
- 4 skinless sea bass (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- In a saucepan of boiling water, cook the ramps just until bright green, 30 seconds. Drain, cool under water and pat dry.
- In a blender, puree the ramps, mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon juice, apricot jam, ginger, garlic and mustard paste until smooth. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
- In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 375°. Line a baking sheet with a rack and cover the rack with paper towels.
- In a bowl, coat the fish pieces with the buttermilk. In a large, resealable plastic bag, add the flour, Old Bay, coriander and 1 teaspoon of salt. Drain the fish pieces, shaking off the excess buttermilk and transfer them to the bag. Seal the bag and shake until the fish is well coated. Carefully remove the fish pieces, shaking off any excess flour.
- Working in batches, fry the fish over high heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the rack and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish. Serve hot with the aioli and lemon wedges.
Fried foods go best with crisp, dry white wines, like Riesling or Chablis.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.