Pan Seared Rockfish with Braised Artichoke-Leek
Relish and Oil Cured Olive Tapenade
Joseph “Jay” Comfort of Poste – Washington,
Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 4 servings
This dish firmly plants its feet in the Spring cycle of ingredients
– fresh from the water, line-caught Rockfish, budding artichokes,
and early hearty herbs picked from a cold-frame. The tangy-sweet
leeks, citrus and capers play tag while the earthen, iron-like quality
of the olives remind us that Winter isn’t that far past. Serve
with a heady white Burgundy (Dom. de La Maltroye – Chateau
Maltroye) or go the other way with Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
slightly chilled (Cristom, Louise Vineyard).
- For the fish:
- 4 each 5 oz Rockfish fillets – skin on
- 2 Tablespoons clarified butter
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
For the Relish: Can be prepared four hours ahead. For
best results and flavor, do not refrigerate.
- 3 artichokes (large)
- 2 leeks, medium sized, white stalk only – finely dice,
rinse and drain to remove all sand
- 2 lemons
- 4 garlic cloves – 2 thinly sliced on a truffle shaver,
rinsed under hot water, 2 whole
- 1/3 cups flat leaf parsley – chopped coarsely
- 4 fresh mint sprigs
- ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 Tablespoons clarified butter
- 1 ½ Tablespoons capers – large salt cured, if
- 2 each bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
- Several sprigs of chervil
Moroccan Oil Cured Olive Tapenade
- 12 each pitted Moroccan oil cured olives, minced
- 1 teaspoon confetti-minced shallot
- 1/3 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
- (Mix all ingredients well with a mortar and pestle)
Sweat the leeks in 1 T of the clarified butter
and then add 1 C of the wine. Reduce head and allow leeks to braise
for fifteen minutes or until almost sec. The leeks should be clear
and sweet. Allow to cool.
Zest both of the lemons with a “Microplane” and reserve
In a bowl large enough to hold all of the artichokes squeeze the
juice of one lemon, fill deep with approx. 2 quarts of water (now
acidulated water) and the following: bay leaf, peppercorns, olive
oil, salt, ½ of the white wine and some salt.
Peel the loose outer leaves from the artichokes, cut the top half
of the leaves away exposing the hairy-like “choke” and
pink inner leaves. Then, cut around the base until your knife exposes
the “bottom” of the artichoke and peel the bottom and
stem with a paring knife. Leave as much of the bottom and stem intact
as possible as this is the desired part. Trim the bottom of the
stem and immediately place in the acidulated water. Work quickly
as artichokes will oxidize rapidly.
When finished trimming the artichokes, place the pot on the stove
on med-high heat and weigh the artichokes down to keep them submerged.
Bring ‘chokes to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the liquid until easy
to handle. Clean the choke out and slice the bottom and stem in
to ¼” thick slices, top to bottom, then dice in ¼”
Toss the diced artichokes with the leeks, lemon zest, parsley,
capers, garlic and olive oil. Season well and finish with the fresh
picked mint leaves. Reserve aside, do not refrigerate.
Season the fish with salt and pepper then pan-brown, skin side
down in a sauté pan in clarified butter. Baste with the butter
and place in a 350-degree oven without turning until fish is at
desired done-ness (9 minutes for very large fillets to be cooked
Serve the finished fish over a spoon of the artichoke relish and
drizzle the Moroccan oil cured tapenade on the side of the plate.