Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Light and refreshing, this meal has it all. Triggerfish has become very trendy at least here in the south. It has a meaty consistency that holds together well whether you grill it or sauté it as I did. It has some of the richness you get from Sea Bass but not as oily. And of course my succotash which I’ve made a million times and posted once here. Each time I make the succotash it will vary depending on what is fresh. This time I used edamame and green garlic. Whenever I need to add a little crunch and starch, I go to grits (or polenta). These polenta cakes are easy to make yourself or you can buy premade polenta to speed the process up. I’ve also posted them several times here, here and here.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-4 triggerfish filets
  • Polenta (make your own or purchase)
  • Egg + milk for egg wash
  • Flour
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 strips applewood smoked bacon (I prefer Niman Ranch)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)
  • 1 large green garlic, mince the bulb and slice the stem
  • 1 larger jalapeno, minced (I leave the steam and seeds for heat)
  • ½ bag of frozen edamame (or fresh if you can find it)
  • Heavy cream (or half and half)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Olive oil
DIRECTIONS

  1. For the polenta, I had some left over, cooked and cooled polenta but you can use the pre-made polenta logs. Most grocery stores will have them, check near the vegetables or the pasta isle. Cut polenta into desired shapes and thicknesses. I prefer circles and about 1/2 an inch thick.
  2. In a bowl combine the egg and a splash of milk and whisk to combine. In two more bowls add the flour and panko and season with salt and pepper. Dip the cut polenta into the flour, then the egg wash then the panko.
  3. Heat large skillet to medium high heat and add oil to cover the pan. Sauté polenta cakes until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Place in oven at 200-250° to keep warm.
  4. Pre-heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon strips (you can pre-cut them into lardons or you can leave the strips whole and cut them after). Reduce to medium and cook bacon until crispy and most of the drippings (fat) has been rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Depending on how much bacon you use, you should probably remove all but a tablespoon of the fat (but I leave it in).
  5. Add onions, green garlic and jalapeno to the pan with the bacon fat. Sautees the mixture until softened and then add the bell pepper, corn and frozen edamame (they’ll thaw and be nice and crunchy by the end). Season with salt and pepper and toss in pan until of the vegetables are coated and warmed. Pour in heavy cream and continue to toss or stir allowing mixture to simmer until thickened. Add the crispy bacon and toss. Taste for seasoning and re-season if necessary.
  6. Trim the Triggerfish if necessary and pick any pin bones. In a large zip top bag, add just a little flour, salt, pepper, smoked paparika and the fish. We aren’t looking to add enough flour to create a breading, just enough to crisp and brown a little. Toss lightly until coverd.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large skillet (I used the same that I cooked the polenta cakes in) over medium heat add olive oil. Cook fish on both sides until desired doneness is reached. If necessary, finish cooking in the oven. Fish should slightly flake when done.
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Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Sea Bass, Polenta Cakes, Corn Salad with Jalapeño-tomato Broth

Sea Bass, Polenta Cakes, Corn Salad with Jalapeño-tomato BrothSometimes I just get some recipe for a component of a meal in my head. I just want to make it so bad. In this case I had seen some where a tomato broth and thought that a jalapeño and tomato broth would be awesome. I decide to go ahead and make it pretty spicy so to balance the heat of the broth I chose corn, red bell peppers and some amazing Chilean sea bass filets. The only thing left was a starch and some crunch. I had some polenta, so I cut it up and pan fried it.

I loved this meal, the heat from the broth was balanced by the cool and sweet of the corn and pepper salad (even with the bacon). The broth was very clean and fresh which really inhanced the richness that the sea bass has. The fried polenta add that crunch and was only made better by absorbing some of the broth. Give this one a try and let me know how you tweak it.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 filets of Chilean sea bass
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large fresh corn
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1-2 jalapeño depending on how hot you like it.
  • Tomato (canned whole peeled San Marzano) You could use fresh but if you use canned use the San Marzano! It makes a difference in color and flavor.
  • Chicken broth (unsalted)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt. Yes, it tastes differently if you use regular salt but you can.
  • Polenta (make your own or purchase in logs)
  • Egg + milk for egg wash
  • Flour
  • Panko bread crumbs
DIRECTIONS

  1. Stem and seed your jalapeño unless you like it really hot. Dice.
  2. In a medium sauce pot on medium heat, add tablespoon of oil and add the jalapeño.
  3. Immediately you can add canned tomatoes (and sauce from the can). Add the tomatoes one by one crushing them with your hands (yep, it can get messy). I mentioned above but I strongly suggest the San Marzano tomatoes, they add a extra sweetness and bright red color that not even fresh tomato does.
  4. Simmer mixer, stirring occasionally. until thickened slightly. Add chicken broth, season to taste with sea salt and allow to simmer. You can use water here if you prefer but I would suggest increasing the amount of salt if you do.
  5. Once the broth has reached a consistency that you like remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree. Whenever you think it is done, let it go for a few more minutes.
  6. Strain broth with a thin mesh strainer back into a clean sauce pot and keep warm.
  7. For the polenta, I had some left over, cooked and cooled polenta but you can use the pre-made polenta logs. Most grocery stores will have them, check near the vegetables or the pasta isle. Cut polenta into desired shapes and thicknesses. I prefer circles and about 1/2 an inch thick.
  8. In a bowl combine the egg and a splash of milk and whisk to combine. In two more bowls add the flour and panko and season with salt and pepper. Dip the cut polenta into the flour, then the egg wash then the panko.
  9. Heat large skillet to medium high heat and add oil to cover the pan. Sauté polenta cakes until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Place in oven at 200-250° to keep warm.
  10. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Cut the kernels from the corn. Dice the bell pepper. Cut the bacon in lardons. Sauté bacon to render the fat and remove. Add corn and bell pepper and sauté. DO NOT over cook, I like it to be still crunchy. Add the crispy bacon back and toss before serving. Season if needed with salt and pepper.
  11. At the same time heat a skillet or grill pan to medium to medium high heat with a tablespoon olive oil. Season fish with a little salt and pepper and cook on each side until done. You’ll know it is done when it starts to flake a little. Don’t mess with the fish, salt and pepper is all you need. Sea bass is very rich and oily and doesn’t need much.
Sea Bass, Polenta Cakes, Corn Salad with Jalapeño-tomato Broth

Skate Wing, Sautéed Dandelion Greens with White Bean and Fried Polenta Cakes

Skate Wing, Sautéed Dandelion Greens with White Bean and Fried Polenta CakesRight off the bat I’ll say, I have never cooked Skate Wing. I had it once at a restaurant in Charleston, SC. I saw it at Whole Foods and thought I’d try it. What even goes with Skate?

If you don’t already know skate is a type of stingray. The fish monger at Whole Foods told me that back in the day if restaurants ran out of scallops they would cut skate into scallop like shapes and the customers never knew. When I got this stuff home I had no clue what to do with it. It had little bone like things and cartilage like stuff, I didn’t know what to cut off and what to eat. Finally, I got it filleted to a cook-able piece of meat and decided to do Skate Wing, Sautéed Dandelion Greens with White Bean and Fried Polenta Cakes.

I got the dandelion greens just that day, I love the bitterness of these greens. The salty bacon, the chicken stock and the creamy white beans all balanced out that bitter taste perfectly. I had leftover polenta so why not cut it up and pan fry it. The polenta cakes provided a nice crunch. Now, how the heck do I prepare skate?

All in all I liked this meal but honestly the skate could have been any fish and probably will be next time. I liked the skate well enough but from now on I think I let the professionals handle it. The rest of the meal was awesome. If you tried cooking skate wing before I would love to know how it turned out.

INGREDIENTS

  • Skate Wings (stingray)
  • Dandelion Greens
  • 1 15 oz can of White Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1-2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 slices of bacon (cut into lardons)
  • Chicken or Fish stock
  • Polenta
  • Milk or heavy cream
  • Blue Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • Flour
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Olive Oil
DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°. Cook the polenta per the instructions on the package except I substitute half the water with milk or heavy cream. Once the polenta is done mix in some blue cheese to taste then pour into a large flat dish (like 8×12 baking dish) and allow to cool. You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate.
  2. Start a large pan over medium heat. After the polenta has cooled and hardened, using a large circular pastry cutter, cut the polenta into whatever shapes you like. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dust the polenta shapes. Make an egg wash with your egg and dip each cake into the egg wash then the panko bread crumbs.
  3. Once the polenta cakes are all breaded, melt a tablespoon of butter and three or four tablespoon of olive oil in the hot pan. Fry both sides of each cake until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and keep warm in the oven.
  4. In order not to waste another pan, I wiped out the same pan I used for the polenta cakes. Since the pan is already over meduim heat add the bacon lardons and cook until crispy and all the fat is rendered out, remove with slotted spoon. In the remaining bacon fat goodness, toss in the minced garlic and immediately the dandelion greens. Toss the greens in the bacon fat and garlic. Let sauté until the greens begin to wilt and add your chicken or fish stock. Cover and cook over medium heat. I didn’t put a measurment on the stock because, well, I don’t measure anything. Just add enough to steam the greens and make a little sauce.
  5. Once the greens are wilted and tender and the white beans and toss together and cook the beans through. Toss in the bacon and keep warm.
  6. Meanwhile, heat large pan over medium to medium high heat. Dust the skate with the seasoned flour left over from the polenta cakes. Add enough olive oil to cook the skate. I just treated the skate like another piece of fish. I cooked it on each side until it was crispy on the outside and I could feel that it was cooked through.
Skate Wing, Sautéed Dandelion Greens with White Bean and Fried Polenta Cakes