Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish with Rapini Paint and Fried Eggplant
For the Monkfish:
Preheat over to 400ºF. Season the fish with salt and pepper. On a piece of wax paper, lay out overlapping slices of bacon. Place the fish on one end of the bacon and roll up in the wax paper so that the fish is completely wrapped in bacon. Remove paper. Heat canola oil in a sauté pan. When the oil is hot but not smoking add the fish and cook until edges are golden brown. Turn fish on its side with metal tongs and hold to 1-2 minutes, then flip to the thicker side. Continue to brown the fish until all sides are consistently brown and crisp. Place fish in the oven for 4-6 minutes until flesh is firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to rest.
For the Bacon Shallot Crème:
Saute bacon in a 2-quart stainless stock pot until soft. Add shallots and horseradish and cook together until shallots are soft and bacon is crisp. Add the cream, reduce by ¾, and remove from heat just before the cream is about to break.
For the Rapini Paint:
In a 4 quart pot, bring 3 quarts of water and ¾ cup salt to a boil. Prepare an ice bath composed of ¼ ice, ¾ water, and 2 Tablespoons of salt. Pick off the larger outer leaves of the rapini and reserve. Separate the florets and reserve for garnish. Cut the tender part of the stem into thin circles. Add the chopped stem to the boiling water and boil until tender. Add the rapini leaves and boil until tender. Drain the rapini in a colander and shock in the ice bath for 3 minutes. Transfer rapini to a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible. Puree rapini in a Robot Coup, slowly adding hot reduced cream to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper. Allow puree to cool.
For the Florets:
Sauté rapini florets with olive oil, garlic and chili flakes until tender. Finish with fresh lemon juice and salt.
For the Fried Eggplant:
Cut the eggplant into 4 2-inch pieces on the bias. Sprinkle liberally with salt and set aside for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. In a sauteuse, heat oil to 350ºF. Crack eggs and whip for one minute. Lightly coat the eggplant pieces in flour, dip in egg, and coat with bread crumbs. Fry in hot oil until golden brown on all side, remove, and drain off excess oil.
For the Tomato Sauce:
Heat oil in a large stainless steel pot. Add the carrot and sauté until golden and caramelized, Add garlic and allow to brown slightly. Add fennel and onions and sauté 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add oregano, chili flakes, salt and a pinch of sugar. Keep pot covered, removing cover to stir every 5 minutes. When the vegetables are tender and lightly caramelized, add tomatoes, stir, cover pot, and cook for three hours on low heat. Season with salt, drizzle with olive oil, and blend in blender until smooth.
To Assemble and Serve:
Ladle a large pool of tomato sauce on to the plate. Place Bacon Wrapped Monkfish in the center of the plate. Place two Florets on one side of the fish and spoon a thick streak of Rapini Paint on the other side. Finish by placing two slices of Fried Eggplant beside the florets.