We’re going to make a delicious sea bass & truffle dish. First I’m going to show you how to fillet a wild sea bass. Then I stuff it with a truffle farce and cover it completely with truffle slices. I’m also making a sherry sauce and a mashed potato brandade.
How to fillet the sea bass
I use a beautiful wild seabass that weighs 2 kilograms. Now I always cut the fins off. They are pretty pointy and sharp, so be careful. Then make an incision at the belly and cut it open. Now remove the intestines. After that descale it. I always do this under some running water, because otherwise it will get messy. Just use the back of your knife and gently remove the scales. Then make an incision behind the fin on both sides and cut the head off. Once that’s done cut the belly bones off the belly. Make an incision and then cut them off. When that’s done on both sides use your whole blade to follow the bones all the way to the other side. Then cut the fillet off and do the same on the other side. Keep the bones and head for the sauce. Now cut the belly off and keep that for the potato brandade. Now use a strong tweezer to remove the remaining bones. Each fillet should have around 6 to 8 thick bones left. Then make an incision on the thin side of the fillet and pull the skin tight. Meanwhile use a long sharp knife to cut the skin off. Now keep the cleaned fillets in your fridge for later.
The sherry sauce
The fish bones and head
black pepper grains
First remove both eyes for the head. These are very bitter. Now also remove the gills. These are very bitter as well. The remaining bones you can cut in smaller pieces and then transfer everything into a saucepan. Now let some cold water run on the bones for around 5 minutes. Then remove a little bit of the water. Add a drizzle of vinegar and bring it to a simmer on a medium heat. The vinegar will help with clarifying the broth. Meanwhile cut the leek to the middle and wash it well under cold water. Now cut it. Then cut the onion in half and clean it. Now cut it. Once it’s simmering use a small ladle to remove any solid egg white foam that floats on top. Then add the coriander grains to the broth together with the black pepper grains, the bay leaf, the clove of garlic that’s cut in half and the chopped vegetables. Now let it simmer for 45 minutes. After that use a ladle to pass the fish broth through a fine sieve. Be gentle to insure it stays beautifully clear. Now let’s turn the broth into a delicious sauce. Add the cream to the broth together with the white sherry and reduce this for 60%. Leaving you with 40%. Now transfer it into a saucepan and add the crème fraiche. Blend it with a hand blender to emulsify it and to create a beautiful foam.
The sea bass belly
Season the sea bass belly with some salt and drizzle some oil on top. Bake it at 230 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Meanwhile peel the big floury potatoes and cut them in smaller pieces. Now transfer them into a pan and cover it with cold water. Then season with a generous amount of salt and boil them till cooked. Once cooked drain the potatoes and let them steam dry for at least 5 minutes. After, use a ladle to press the potato through a fine sieve. I have 500 grams of cooked puree. Now mix the cream with the butter and bring this to a boil. Slowly while mixing add the boiling liquid to the potato till it’s an even smooth puree. Then take the seabass belly from the oven and add it to the potato puree. Mix it and then when necessary, season it with salt.
The black truffle coulis
defrosted frozen winter truffles
Mix the defrosted frozen winter truffle with the dark ponzu, the vegetable broth, the salt and the squid ink. Now blend this till smooth. After that keep it in your fridge for later.
The sea bass & truffle
The sea bass fillets
Take the fillets and cut the thin sides off. Now transfer 150 grams of the trimmings into a blender together with the salt, the egg yolks, the butter and the truffle coulis. Blend this till smooth. Keep an eye on the temperature of the fish. The friction will start to heat it up and you want to keep it cold. When you feel it becomes warmer directly add the cream and then stop mixing. Now transfer the farce on a fine sieve and press it through using a dough scraper or a pot scraper. Then transfer it into a piping bag that’s fitted with a big round nozzle. Now lay some plastic wrap on your worktop and put the seabass fillets on top. Season them on both sides with salt. Then pipe the farce on one of the fillets and put the other fillet with the big side to the thin side on top. Now roll it up as tight as possible. Then use the sides to make it even tighter and make a knot on both sides. After that make an ice bath and let the fish set for 1 hour. The ice bath will insure you’ll end up with a nice round fish with no dent from laying it down and not letting it float.
After that the truffle. I always keep my truffles with some risotto rice and some eggs. The rice will absorb any liquid and prevent your truffles from turning mushy. Both the eggs & rice will also get a wonderful truffle flavor. Now cut a black truffle in thin slices. Here I sliced 80 grams. Then lay the truffle slices on a piece of plastic wrap in a big rectangle. After, lay the seabass in the middle and roll it up nice and tight. Take your time because you don’t want to damage the beautiful truffle. Now use the sides to make it as tight as possible, just like we did before. After steam it at 65 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes. You can also cook it sous-vide for the same temperature and time. If you want to serve it straight from the oven steam it for 30 minutes. Then transfer it into an ice bath and let it set for at least 3 hours.
How to finish the dish & the maitake mushrooms
First we’ll need to slice the seabass. For this make sure to use a very sharp and long knife. Make long slices and really let your knife do the work. Then transfer the slices on a metal tray and remove the wrap. Cover it with foil and heat it up at 70 degrees Celsius for around 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile we can prepare the maitake mushrooms. First portion them into the desired size. Just pull them apart, for this you don’t need a knife. Then add a drizzle of oil to a hot pan and pan fry the maitake with some salt for seasoning. Once they start to color add a knot of butter and pan fry for another 2 minutes. Now place a dot of the brandade in the middle of a plate and put the seabass on top. Drizzle some of the truffle coulis around and finish it off with the sherry sauce.