Slow-Baked Sea Bass with Egg Sauce and Garlic Foam
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 15 MIN
- SERVINGS: 12 first-course servings
Sea bass turns ultratender and satiny baked at a very low temperature of 160 degrees. Michel Bras serves the fish on a frothy sauce inspired by aigo bulido, Aubrac patois for a simple garlic broth Bras's mother used to make for him when he was sick.
- 1 1/3 cups red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup demerara sugar
- Twelve 4-ounce skinless sea bass fillets
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 garlic cloves—6 cloves thinly sliced, 2 cloves finely chopped
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 whole clove
- 2 cups water
- 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 slices of day-old country white bread (1 ounce), crusts removed and bread cut into 1-inch cubes
- In a small saucepan, boil the vinegar with the sugar until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 160°. Season the bass fillets with salt and pepper and place on a large rimmed baking sheet, skinned side up. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the fish is just white throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 150°.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sliced garlic, shallot and whole clove and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 7 minutes. Strain the garlic water and return it to the saucepan.
- Add the chopped garlic, anchovies, bread, olive oil and cream to the garlic broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until foamy. Return the foam to the saucepan, season with salt and keep warm.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the mustard. Pour in the milk and season with salt. In a medium nonstick skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Pour in the egg mixture. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir constantly until a thick, creamy sauce forms, about 3 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and season with salt.
- To serve, spoon the garlic foam onto plates and top with the fish. Using a spoon, spread a streak of the vinegar reduction across the plate on one side of the fish fillets. Dollop the mustard sauce beside the fish. Arrange the blanched vegetables on top of the fish and serve.
For the fish course (as well as his roasted onion), Bras poured a premier cru white Burgundy from Meursault, the creamy 2004 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Genevrières. Top-level Burgundies like this one characteristically have a refined richness that's ideal with richer fish dishes; another good bottling to look for is the mineral-inflected 2006 Vincent Girardin Meursault Les Narvaux.