Thursday, 3 October 2013
Pan Seared Pickerel with Sweet Potato, Brussels Sprout and Crispy Prosciutto Hash with Lemon-Parsley Oil
Well, ladies and gentlemen we are officially well into fall. I Thought it would be nice to share a light yet satisfying dish that incorporates seasonal autumn produce. This technique can be used to fry just about any boneless fish fillet. I've chosen pickerel which is a flaky and mild freshwater fish. Pickerel are plentiful in Canada so they are sustainable and available all year long. To incorporate some fall produce I've done a take on an autumn hash with sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, shallot, crispy prosciutto and paprika. For the oil I finely minced some fresh parsley and then pulverized it with my mortar and pestle along with some extra virgin olive oil then spiked it with some fresh lemon juice.
Add a couple tbsps of olive oil to a very hot pan. Let the oil heat until you just start to see small wisps of smoke. Then carefully place a piece of boneless pickerel fillet in the oil, skin side down. When doing this, you always want to take the fish from one side and lay it away from you to avoid splashing any oil on yourself. Season with salt and pepper. Do not touch the fish. Resist the urge. Don't poke it, don't prod it, don't even think about it. Just let it cook. If it's your first time doing this, it might freak you out. Fish is delicate and your pan should be very hot. The reason why we're not messing with it is so that it will develop an incredible crispy texture on the skin.
You can tell when a piece of fish is cooked by the way it changes colour. Use that attribute as an indicator of when to flip the fish. You want to flip it when the fish has cooked at least 2/3 of the way through (should only take a few minutes). Use a flexible fish flip to turn the fillet. This is the only time you will flip the fillet. Season the crispy side with salt and pepper. If your piece of fish has one side that's thicker than the other, you can always move it to the side of your pan and tilt it so that the larger bump of the fish has full coverage against the full curve of the pan. Add a small knob of butter to the pan. It should melt quickly. At any time, you can tilt the pan and take a spoonful of the melted butter and pour it over the fish to keep it moist and flavourful. When the fish has cooked all the way through (you see no raw colour on the sides) remove from the heat. Fish doesn't need to rest as long. 45-60 seconds is fine. You can serve it either crispy-skin side up or flesh side up. Whichever side you do, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over it before plating.
To make the hash, over medium heat add little olive oil in another pan. I took a couple slices of prosciutto and sliced them into strips before throwing them in. I don't bother seasoning it because the prosciutto is salty on its own. Prosciutto is already safe to eat as it is, we're only cooking it to get it nice and crispy almost like a lean piece of bacon. When they are crispy remove them and let them drain on paper towel. Turn the heat up to medium-high. You may have to add a little olive oil if necessary. Add some shallot, parboiled sweet potato cubes, parboiled Brussels sprouts (halved) with some salt, pepper, and paprika. When the potatoes and sprouts are cooked through, remove from the heat and add some chopped fresh parsley and the reserved prosciutto crisps. Reserve a pinch of prosciutto crisps
Plate a serving of the hash in the middle of the dish. Top with your seared fillet of fish. Take the lemon-parsley oil and spoon a bit on the plate in whatever manner you prefer. I recommend spooning a little over the fish itself. Finish with the remaining bit of prosciutto over the fillet.
PS: If you are using a skinless fillet of fish, just lightly dredge both sides of the fish with a little seasoned flour. The coating will be light and crispy when you're done.