Family, Food and Friends: Hooking Up with Oil-Poached Fish - Part II
Oil temperature is key when poaching fish.
Before you fry, bake or grill another fish fillet, consider expanding the culinary net. Oil-poaching fish is healthy and tasty. The use of an instant-read thermometer makes it easy to get the oil temperature right. For stovetop poaching, the range is about 120 to 180 degrees. Temperatures for oven poaching vary depending on the recipe.
Tasting the fish for doneness can be done with your finger as long as the oil is not hot. Some recipes suggest using less expensive olive oil. I liked Trader Joe's Spanish extra-virgin olive oil for the taste and reasonable price.
The other ingredients, from herbs to side dishes to toppings, depend only on your imagination and preferences. Think color. The poached fish is pale and looks less appetizing without something to brighten the presentation. A recipe from Icelandic Chef provided inspiration for my own poached swordfish dinner.
Crispy leeks or shallots add a nice bit of crunch. I experimented with dipping the shallots in buttermilk and flour before frying them. I used egg and flour for the leeks. Some recipes I checked called for dropping the leeks in hot oil to make them crisp. I will have to see if that works or try dipping them into a light batter to make the coating more even.
OLIVE OIL-POACHED SWORDFISH WITH SWEET POTATO MASH AND CRISPY LEEKS
Makes 2 Servings
Ingredients for the Fish
1 bottle of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, 4-6 cups
1 lemon, quartered
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 swordfish steaks, about 6 ounces each, skin removed
Ingredients for Sweet Potato Mash
2 medium to large sweet potatoes
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Ingredients for Sweet Green Pea Vinaigrette
1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, blanched
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 to 1/3 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Ingredients for Crispy Leek Rings
1 large leek, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
1 cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Sweet Potato Mash: Peel and dice sweet potatoes. Place in large pot of water with a sprig of rosemary. Cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes. Push through a potato ricer or mesh strainer (makes mash less fibrous). Return to pot and keep on very low heat to absorb any water. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Sweet Pea Vinaigrette: Briefly blanch frozen peas in simmering water, about 30 seconds. Drain and place peas in a food processor. Add the garlic, shallot, lemon juice, rice vinegar and honey. Blend until smooth. Strain mixture. It might be my mini-food processor, but I could not get the peas smooth without pushing the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.
Return the mixture to the food processor or blender. Slowly add olive oil to emulsify. Season with sea salt and a dash of freshly ground pepper. Add a few tablespoons of water if the vinaigrette is too thick. Pour into a squeeze bottle.
Crispy Leek Rings: Rinse leek. Cut white and pale green portion into 1/4 inch rings. Place rings in cold water and rinse thoroughly. Separate rings and place on paper towel. Mix beaten egg with 2 tablespoons of water to thin. Place flour in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a deep skillet or medium pot. Dip rings in egg and then dredge in flour. Fry leek rings in small batches until light golden. Drain on rack placed over a cookie sheet.
Swordfish: Pour olive oil into a large, deep saucepan. Add quartered lemon, rosemary and thyme springs and crushed garlic. Heat oil to 150 degrees. Test temperature. Lower or turn off heat if it starts getting above 180.
Season swordfish steak with salt and freshly ground pepper. I cut one large swordfish plating steak into two 6-ounce pieces. They fit into the saucepan better and made easier.
Check oil temperature. Carefully place swordfish steaks into the warm oil. You should be able to do this with your hand. After 13-15 minutes, test swordfish for doneness. The fish will look opaque and be just firm to the touch. Remove from oil and serve.
Plating: Put sweet potato mash in center of plates. Put swordfish steaks on top of mash. Top with crispy leek rings. Garnish plate with sweet pea vinaigrette or squeeze a small amount over the leeks and fish.
Do you have an original oil-poached fish dish you would like to share? Send me an e-mail with your recipe and the story behind it.