Monkfish With Iron Chef Sakai Tomato Oil Sauce

During the planning for my Christmas meal, I was wondering what to do about a seafood course.  At one point I had considered lobster.  But given the time constraints of what I had in mind, I went from lobster with sauce americaine, to Iron Chef Sakai’s Seaweed Steamed Lobster to his Seaweed Steamed Snapper With Tomato Oil Sauce.  I had recently seen a dish listed on the menu at Per Se just after Thanksgiving 2016 using monkfish and I’d remembered that monkfish was sometimes considered as poor-man’s lobster.  And so I decided that Monkfish with Sakai’s Tomato Oil Sauce with perhaps crisp garlic chips and chives as garnish might fit the bill.  The tomato oil sauce can be found online here:

http://www.g-chef.com/english/recip/sk002_e.html

Ingredients for Iron Chef Sakai's Tomato Oil Sauce

Ingredients for Iron Chef Sakai’s Tomato Oil Sauce

The sauce was basically built from a concasse of 3 tomatoes and a teaspoon of garlic (minced, and I would grate them instead)

Blanching heirloom tomatoes in boiling hot water (with x's cut into the bottom of each tomato)

Blanching heirloom tomatoes in boiling hot water (with x’s cut into the bottom of each tomato)

cooked in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, finished with 2 tablespoons of finely minced basil.  (This sounded suspiciously like the

finishing the blanching process by shocking them in ice cold water to remove the skins

finishing the blanching process by shocking them in ice cold water to remove the skins

pomodoro sauce from Nobu Now). So to begin, I prepared three tomatoes by blanching them to remove their skins, split

Making the tomato concasse

Making the tomato concasse

them open to get as much as the seeds out and finely diced them for use in a sauce (think concasse).  Instead of mincing up

grated garlic for the sauce

grated garlic for the sauce

...she helped me out by preparing the basil...

…she helped me out by preparing the basil…

the garlic, I relied on grating it to make sure it blended well into the sauce.  My wife kindly helped out by mincing up 2 tablespoons of fresh basil.

minced basil ready for the sauce

minced basil ready for the sauce

So I then got 4 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil into a hot sauce pot, turned the heat down to medium and then added the garlic.  I added

simmering the tomato oil sauce before the freshed minced basil

simmering the tomato oil sauce before the freshed minced basil

the tomatoes when I could smell the aroma of the garlic and cooked it all down until the pieces of tomato was nice and soft (and nearly blended)

Checking on the sauce yield

Checking on the sauce yield

in.  I moved the cooked sauce to a measuring cup so I could estimate how to season the sauce.  As it would turn out, it was about a cup and a third which meant it was going to be a little more that 1/4 teaspoon of 4:1 salt/pepper mix.  Because it was 1/3 cup more, I thought to add 1/8 teaspoon more of the 4:1 salt/pepper mix.  Back into the sauce pot the sauce went to simmer and I turned my attention to making the thinly sliced garlic

Freshly cooked crisp garlic chips set aside to 'drain' and cool for garnishing

Freshly cooked crisp garlic chips set aside to ‘drain’ and cool for garnishing

chips a la Nobu  using about 7 cloves of garlic fried in grapeseed oil.  When that was done, I re-checked my sauce, took it off the heat and stirred in the minced basil and set it aside before use with the cooked monkfish.

Prepared monkfish medallions with tail pieces

Prepared monkfish medallions with tail pieces

For the monkfish medallions, I cut them from 2 6 oz fillets into 1″ rounds (think scallops) and seasoned them with 4:1 salt/white pepper mix (Chef Keller is really clear on this point – he only uses white pepper with fish, not black).  Into a large preheated (very) hot skillet, I added about 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and proceeded to place the medallions in the pan going around in a clockwise circle – that’s how I would know the

searing the monkfish medallions

searing the monkfish medallions

order when/which pieces were to be turned over.  I turned the heat down to 50% max power and seared the first side for about 4 minutes (think

flipping the medallions to the other side

flipping the medallions to the other side

searing diver scallops) and then turned them over to cook for another 3 until just cooked through.  Once the fish was done, I began plating by

The start of plating

The start of plating

running a line of the tomato oil sauce down the center of the plate.  I finished up by lining medallions atop the sauce and then covering the fish

A line of medallions on the sauce, topped with crisp garlic chips

A line of medallions on the sauce, topped with crisp garlic chips

with the crisp garlic chips.   Dinner was completed by a side of oven roasted vegetables which my wife graciously prepared to accompany the meal.  My wife’s reaction to the dish was “wow the tomato oil sauce really went well with the well cooked/seasoned monkfish and the crisp garlic chips were a great flavor textural match as well”.  So I guess my fish course for the holiday meal is ready to go!

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