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September 2002 BOSTON
Crispy Sea Bass with Fava Beans, Goan Rock Shrimp and Mollee Sauce
Thomas John, Mantra - Boston, MA
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6 servings

Make the mollee sauce - a coconut-curry emulsion:

  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 clove
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh gingeroot
  • 6 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound Spanish onions
  • 2 Tablespoons green chiles, left whole
  • coriander
  • turmeric
  • 1/4 cup peeled, and chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 7 Tablespoons coconut milk
  • scant 1/4 cup fish stock

Heat the oil in a skillet and warm the whole spices and seeds until fragrant. Add curry leaves, onion, ginger, garlic and chiles and saute until soft but not browned.

Add the coriander, turmeric, tomato and water. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until liquid reduces slightly. Add fish stock and simmer another 5 minutes. Finish sauce with coconut milk, strain and serve over bass dish.

For rock shrimp:

  • 1 1/2 pounds rock shrimp
  • 1 ounce canola oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tablespoon ground clove
  • 1 Tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon dried red chiles
  • 2 Tablespoon coriander
  • 3 pounds Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 Tablespoon dried shrimp, crushed until powdery ( buy in an Asian market)
  • 1 pound Spanish onions
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoom chopped shallots
  • 3 ounces cognac

Heat the oil in a skillet until hot, then toss in the whole spices and stir until they become fragrant.
Add the onions and saute gently until golden.
Add tomatoes and heat until oil separates from vegetable/spice mixtue.
Add fish stock and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Strain sauce through a fine sieve and add the dried shrimp powder. Set aside.
Next, saute the garlic and shallots briefly in a small skillet. Pull off the fire, pour in the cognac and flame it carefully.
Mix sauce with the rock shrimp and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

For the fava beans:

  • 1/8 cup fava beans, fresh or frozen, blanched and skinned
  • 1 ounce peas
  • 1 ounce canned chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine

Cook the peas in the chicken broth until soft. Puree in a food processor.
In a frying pan, cook shallots and garlic in the oil until translucent.
Add the fava beans to the pan, then the pea puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste and warm gently.

For the bass:

  • 6, 6-ounce filets of black bass, cleaned
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil

Season the fish generously with salt and peppercorns. Add oil to skillet and heat until almost smoking. Place fish in pan skinside down and saute until skin crisps (about 2 minutes). Flip fish and continue to cook on the second side for approximately 15 seconds.

To serve:
Ladle some of the fava beans onto a plate, top with the goan rock shrimp sauce and crisped black bass. Spoon a small amount of mollee sauce around. Serve immediately.