The bacon infuses the fish with a sweet saltiness and richness that augments the white flesh. Mushrooms, bok choy, and eggplant offer earthy and fresh vibrancy. The sweet wheat beer corn nage brings all the elements together.
Active preparation time: 30−45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Wheat Beer Corn Nage
2 Tbs butter
¼ white onion, minced
1 Tbs minced ginger
2 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
1 cup (237 ml) wheat beer
1 cup (237 ml) water
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 Tbs butter in a pot and add the onions and ginger. Sweat until the onion is translucent, then add the corn, beer, and water. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Blend the corn sauce (an immersion blender is preferable) until it reaches a smooth consistency. Pass the puree through a strainer, then season with salt and pepper and the remaining butter. Hold warm until serving time.
1½ lb (680 g) monkfish fillets, cleaned (cod can be substituted)
Salt and pepper
8 slices of bacon
6−8 heads of baby bok choy
2 packages of Enoki or shimeji mushrooms
4 slices eggplant (½”/13 mm thick)
¼ cup (59 ml) wheat beer
Wasabi nori snack flakes (or any nori snacks)
Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
Lightly season the fillets with salt and pepper. Slightly stretch two strips of bacon and wrap them around a fillet, then set the wrapped fillet aside on paper towels and repeat for the rest.
Prepare an ice bath and bring to a boil a large pot of water over high heat. Blanch the bok choy in boiling water for 2 minutes until al dente, then remove and submerge it in the ice bath. Once cooled, strain in a colander. Blanch the mushrooms and eggplant in the same water for 2 minutes, then shock them in ice water. Halve the drained bok choy by sliding a knife through the bottom halfway and split the heads by hand to keep the shape of the leaves.
Bring a large sauté pan to low heat, add the fish fillets, presentation side down, and cook over low heat until the bacon becomes crispy. Flip and put the pan in the oven, continuing to cook for 5 minutes until the fish is cooked all the way through. It should be firm to the touch, and some fat may leak out. Remove the pan from the oven and place it back on the stove. Add the beer and a squeeze of lemon and let the fish rest in the pan for a few minutes.
Remove the fish filets to a platter and keep warm. Reheat the veggies in the pan. The beer and bacon fat emulsion will give them a nice glaze. Arrange the bok choy, mushrooms, and eggplant slices on four plates, then ladle on some of the warm corn sauce. Top the veggies with a fish filet. Garnish with nori flakes and more lemon juice, if desired.
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PHOTO: MATT GRAVES