Verbena-Chamomile-poached Sea Bream Collar with Pear, Fennel, and Celery

Adapted by
June 2013


Poached Sea Bream Collar
2 sea bream heads, gills removed
2 liters vegetable stock
30 grams lemon verbena
30 grams chamomile flowers
kosher salt
xanthan gum
lemon juice
Pear Purée
3 Bartlett pears, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon quince vinegar
2 bulbs fennel
5 stalks celery
kosher salt
To Assemble and Serve
finger limes
sea beans
Malabar spinach and tips
fennel fronds
chamomile fronds
radish flowers
society garlic flowers
onion blossoms
mustard flowers
walnut oil


Poached Sea Bream Collar:
Warm vegetable stock to 190˚F; add chamomile and verbena. Let steep for 25 to 30 minutes until flavor and aroma are strong, and season lightly with salt. Strain off liquid and let cool to room temperature. Pour the liquid over bream heads and wrap in plastic 3 times. Cook in combi oven at 120˚F at 100 percent humidity for 22 minutes. Unwrap and carefully pick collar meat and cheeks from fish. Reserve in liquid to cover. Take remaining liquid and strain twice through chinois. Weigh and scale 0.15 percent xanthan gum by weight. Add liquid to blender and shear in xanthan on lowest setting until slightly thickened. Strain again and season with salt and few drops of lemon juice to brighten flavor (not to make acidic). Reserve this sauce.

For the Pear Purée:
Place cored pears in vacuum seal bag with quince vinegar; seal at full pressure. Cook in water bath at 185˚F for 25 minutes until tender. Strain off liquid and purée solids until they are thick and smooth. (Use cooking liquid if necessary to thin purée if it’s too thick). Cut celery and fennel into ¼-inch thick pieces, place in vacuum seal bag with a pinch of salt and compress at full pressure 3 times. Remove from bag and dice into ¼-inch squares. Fold into purée and reserve for plating.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place a spoonful of warm Pear Purée on the plate off to left side. Place warmed Poached Sea Bream Collar meat atop Pear Purée. Spread around garnishes; heat reserved sauce and pour directly over fish. Finish with walnut oil drizzled over entire dish.