Crispy Seared Fish With Mediterranean Herb Dressing

Crispy Seared Fish With Mediterranean Herb Dressing

February marks the launch of our newest member of the Brightland family, ROSETTE, a Garlic Olive Oil with a label designed by California-based multimedia artist Lilian Martinez. To celebrate the launch, we have a special edition of BrightRx this month to show how to cook with ROSETTE. 

Behzad Jamshidi is the Chef and Executive Director of Moosh NYC, a community focused and driven hospitality firm. Through Moosh, he hopes to create platforms, projects and businesses that are community focused and celebrate the diversity within America. He has shared with us a beautifully crispy seared fish recipe with a bright, fragrant herb dressing using ROSETTE

Some notes from Chef Behzad before you begin the recipe:

- Most recipes need to be followed precisely - this is not one of them. Your guidelines are this; you are serving a beautiful piece of white fish (whatever you feel inspired to use) with a salad comprising of bright textured ingredients; some briny, some nutty, some acidic, and a few tablespoons of beautiful fragrant olive oil to bring it all together. If you could only get your hands on a few herbs or none at all, I won't hate you - promise. Different olives? – no problem. No olives? – no problem. Let the process of cooking feel good and organic to you, beautiful ingredients and simple flavors will do the rest. 

- Firm, fresh fish - no buts. Get your hands on something beautiful. My favorite pan seared fish varieties to cook are bass (black or striped) and snapper. You want something meaty and delicious. The fish is the star, cook a fillet that gets you excited! Also, ask your fishmonger to scale your fish, you do not want to do that part at home - really. Or alternatively buy a fillet, but there is something remarkable about butchering your own products; if you’re not very good at it, well… no chef was either once upon a time. Try to also buy a touch larger fillet than you think you will need. You may want to trim the fish to get the most beautiful fillet possible if you are cooking for an exciting occasion such as for yourself! 

- Low & slow. Searing a fish over medium heat creates a deeper and more crispy texture on the skin as well as leaving you in a degree of more control when cooking. Resting fish is also key to helping assure that you have a beautifully moist fish. I take my fish out of the pan when it is 90% cooked and rest it on a wire rack to prevent it from steaming on the bottom. The ample carry-over heat will cook the rest of the fish through and create something tender and moist, while preserving a supple, crispy skin.  

Crispy Seared Fish With Mediterranean Herb Dressing 

By Chef Behzad Jamshidi

      

Ingredients

for the fish

  • 2x 5oz fish fillets, skin on + scaled (bass or snapper preferably) 
  • 3 tbsp neutral oil (grapeseed or canola) 
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted 
  • 1 lemon peel rind 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 
  • 2 sprigs thyme or bay leaf (dried or fresh)  
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste

for the herb dressing

  • 1/2 cup olives (preferably green Castelvetrano or similar) 
  • 1/2 stalk celery, sliced thin 
  • 1/2 small shallot, sliced thin (1/8th of a red onion alternatively) 
  • 1 Persian cucumber, cut in half and sliced in thin half-moons (1/4 of an English cucumber alternatively) 
  • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds, lightly chopped (or other toasted nuts such as hazelnuts nuts or pistachios)
  • 2 small radishes, sliced thin 
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp capers, nonpareil
  • 3 tbsp Brightland's ROSETTE olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (something fragrant and light like champagne or apple cider preferably)
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • Kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Optional but encouraged – a combination of any or all these herbs; or alternatively any soft and fragrant leafy herbs you may have on hand:

  • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp dill, stems included, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp parsley, stems included, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, stems included, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp basil, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp mint, finely chopped 

Instructions

for the fish

Remove your fish from the fridge and allow it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Tempering the fish encourages more moisture retention and a more even cooking process. 

Pre-heat a heavy based pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. 

Meanwhile, using paper towel or equivalent, blot dry both sides of your fish fillets to help prevent the moisture from causing the flesh to stick onto the pan. It’s best to get your fish as dry as possible. 

Season both sides of your fish with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. 

Add your neutral oil to the pan and heat for 30 seconds. Place your fish carefully away from you, skin side down, and using a spatula, firmly press the fish down so that it stays flat in the pan. Hold the fish in this position for 30-45 seconds or until the fish loses its tendency to buckle and curl. If you notice excessive amounts of white smoke as your fish is searing, slightly reduce the heat of your pan down to medium. 

Allow your fish to cook on its skin side for 3-4 minutes. After the skin is nicely crisp and the fish appears to be cooked halfway, carefully flip over the fish. Add your butter, lemon peel, smashed garlic and herbs. Gently tip the pan towards you to create a pool for the foamy butter to collect in, and using a tablespoon, carefully cover the skin side of the fish in the foamy butter several times. Repeat this process for 2 minutes or until the fish is firm to the touch and flakes when pressed. 

Remove the fish from the pan and place on a plate topped with the garlic, lemon peel, and herbs in addition to a spoon of the foamy brown butter from the pan. Allow it to rest for 5-6 minutes uncovered. 

for the herb dressing

Mix together Castelvetrano olives, sliced celery, shallots, Persian cucumbers, radishes, green onion, chopped & toasted Marcona almonds, capers, and finely chopped herbs. Add the juice of 1 lemon, vinegar and ROSETTE olive oil and toss lightly to incorporate. Season liberally with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Add more olive oil if the mixture feels dry or more vinegar if you feel the flavor could be brighter or deeper in acidity. 

Place a large spoonful of the salad mixture over the rested fish. Garnish with more ROSETTE olive oil and fresh lemon juice as needed and serve. Alternatively, or additionally – compliment the fish with a bright side dish by tossing the salad mixture with 1 cup of your favorite cooked grains (lentils or farro work great here), a fresh loaf of toasted bread to dip or toss with your favorite salad greens - a mix of endive and pink radicchio are my go-to this season!