Lunchbreak: Pan seared Lake Superior whitefish

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Chef Evan Percoco

State and Lake Chicago Tavern
201 N. State Street
Chicago
(312) 239-9400

Pan Seared Lake Superior Whitefish with Roasted Beets, Fennel Citrus Salad, Lemon Fraiche

Seared Lake Superior Whitefish

Ingredients:
24 oz whitefish filet skin on bones removed
fennel pollen to taste (optional)
1 lemon
your favorite salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
canola oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pan with a slight film of oil)
1 Tbs unsalted butter

Directions:
Place fish in lightly salted water as a means to wash off any impurities.  Rinse the fish under cool running water and place between paper towels to remove moisture.   Season the fish liberally with Salt pepper and fennel pollen.
Preheat a 10” to 12” cast iron pan heat or non stick pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and allow it to heat to a light smoking point.   Carefully add the fish to the pan skin side down.  Let the fish slowly cook on the skin side without moving about 4 minutes.  Add a small amount of butter allowing the butter to brown.   Using a tablespoon, baste the whitefish with the brown butter a couple of times then turn the fish over and bring the heat to low.  Allow the fish to gently finish cooking while continuing to baste.  Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Reserve for plating

Roasted Beets

Ingredients:
5 baby yellow beets
5 baby red beets
1 Tbs olive oil
your favorite salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
thyme sprig (optional)
aluminum foil

Directions:
Rinse any dirt or debris from the beets — some beets may need to be scrubbed clean. Put beets on a large piece of aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 375F.  Coat the beets with oil before roasting.  Season the beets with salt, pepper and thyme. Fold the foil over them and crimp the sides closed. This helps keep them moist, it also helps contain the juices they emit while roasting.  Roast beets about 25 minutes until tender. Remove the beets from oven when tender (you should be able to easily pierce them with a fork). Let them sit. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip their peels off by rubbing them clean with a paper towel.  Reserve.
Note: If you’re planning on making a salad with the roasted beets, feel free to use plenty of oil — you can use the beet-infused oil in the dressing when they’re done roasting.

Fennel Citrus Salad

Ingredients:
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced on a mandolin held with a small amount of Lemon juice
1 grapefruit in segments, juice reserved
4 oz Mizuna lettuce
olive oil
1 Tbs cut chives
your favorite salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Using a sharp knife, cut the skin and white pith from the grapefruit. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to release the sections into the bowl. Squeeze the membranes to extract the juice.
Remove Mizuna from its package, though it is probably washed three times like most packaged lettuce, thoroughly inspect it for foreign objects then wash and dry. Reserve.
At time of consumption – in a medium sized bowl place sliced fennel, grapefruit segments (no juice) and mizuna.  Add 1 Tablespoon of grapefruit juice and 2 Tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper and chives. Toss and reserve for plating

Lemon Fraiche

Ingredients:
2 lemon rinds
juice of 2 lemons
3 cups Water
6 oz Crème Fraiche
your favorite salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place lemon rind and 1 cup water in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil .  Carefully drain the rind and rinse under cool water.  Repeat this process 2 more times.  This process removes bitter oils from the rind that would normally be undeniable.  Finely mince the rinds and mix with crème fraiche.  Add a small amount of lemon juice as a flavor booster and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Platting:
Place 2 oz of Lemon Fraiche on a plate. Make a fancy design if you like.  Place seasoned mizuna grapefruit fennel salad over the lemon fraiche.  Place beets artistically around the plate.  Place fish over salad.

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