Grouper Sous Vide with Vanilla and Lemon Zest – Stefan’s Connoisseur Weblog

Generally I get the inspiration for a brand new dish from one thing I’ve loved in a restaurant. Very seldomly I attempt to copy a dish precisely, however I do use the combos of elements or preparations. At two Michelin star restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 close to the Amalfi coast I had grouper that had been perfumed with vanilla and lemon zest, cooked sous vide, with a sabayon of anchovy brine, mashed potatoes, onion ashes, and fried basil. I didn’t suppose the onion ashes had been very particular and the fried basil appeared to be included principally to have one thing inexperienced on the plate (which regularly makes a dish look higher). The fish had been cooked sous vide at 55C/131F, and subsequently it was only a tad dry. Once I requested the chef about that, he mentioned that the visitors wouldn’t admire fish served medium uncommon (which I can think about, as a result of in Italy each meat and fish are served extra finished, akin to properly finished tuna steak quite than uncommon). I particularly appreciated the concept to fragrance the fish with vanilla and lemon zest. The mix with the mashed potatoes and sabayon additionally labored very properly. To incorporate some greens (potatoes rely as greens in Italy, however not in my e-book), I included some slow-roasted cauliflower. Anchovy brine (colatura di alici) is a specialty from the Amalfi coast that isn’t obtainable right here. As an alternative I’ve made an anchovy-flavored hollandaise sauce. On the restaurant the anchovy taste wasn’t very outstanding, which was the identical in my model. So I suppose you can omit the anchovies altogether. I used to be pleased with the results of this dish and can make it once more.

As an alternative of grouper you can use any tender white fish that won’t flake an excessive amount of in the way in which that cod does. So halibut, wolffish, turbot, and sea bass are all good substitutes. I used halibut, as a result of grouper is just not simply obtainable right here.


Serves 4

  • 600 grams (1.3 lbs) grouper, halibut, turbot, or sea bass fillet
  • 500 grams (1.1 lbs) potatoes
  • 1 cauliflower
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly floor white pepper
  • 75 grams (5 Tbsp) butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • grated zest of 1 untreated lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced recent flat leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 160C/325F (not fan pressured). Break the cauliflower into florets, discarding the trunk, and place in a big oven dish or on a baking sheet. The cauliflower needs to be organized in a single layer. Season with salt and drizzle with about 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the cauliflower to cowl it with the oil.

Roast the cauliflower within the oven at 160C/325F (not fan pressured) for two to three hours, stirring each half-hour or so. Should you can’t flip off the fan in your oven, use 150C/300F as a substitute and stir each quarter-hour. The fan causes the cauliflower to prepare dinner erratically and burn in spots.

The cauliflower is prepared as soon as it’s good and brown, however not black. It can shrink significantly, and the flavour might be properly concentrated. Individuals who don’t often get pleasure from cauliflower will typically get pleasure from this rendition.

Divide the fish into 4 parts. Season the fish on either side with salt (1 teaspoon of desk salt for 600 grams of fish) and a little bit little bit of freshly floor white pepper. Divide the grated zest of a lemon over either side of every portion of fish. Halve the vanilla pod lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with a small knife. Rub either side of every portion of fish with a little bit of the seeds. Reserve the empty pod for the sauce.

Vacuum seal the fish and permit the fish to dry brine within the fridge for no less than 1 hour. This text explains why that is necessary.

The potatoes will retain extra of their taste if you happen to prepare dinner them sous vide as properly, however you can additionally simply boil or steam the potatoes. Peel them, chop them into chunks of not more than than 3 cm (1 inch) thickness, vacuum seal in a single layer, and prepare dinner them sous vide for 90 to 120 minutes at 85C/185F.

Should you personal ‘solely’ one sous vide equipment, you can prepare dinner the potatoes sous vide first and preserve the mashed potatoes heat in a pot on the range as described beneath, after which prepare dinner the fish sous vide. To try this, pour out a part of the water at 85C/185F used for the potatoes (you can reserve this scorching water for dipping the fish, see the recommendation on the finish), and add chilly water to convey it right down to 50C/122F. Then set the sous vide to 50C/122F and put the fish within the water.

Place a chopped shallot in a saucepan with 120 ml of dry white wine, the empty vanilla pod, and 4 drained and chopped anchovy fillets.

Deliver to a boil after which decrease the warmth to scale back gently…

…till solely about 2 tablespoons of liquid (30 ml) is left.

Sift the liquid and return it to the saucepan. Press down with a spoon on the shallots within the sieve to get as a lot taste out of them as potential.

It’s a problem with this dish to serve all the pieces heat on the similar time. So make certain to make use of preheated plates, by placing the plates within the oven with the cauliflower. (Porcelain plates are definitely resistent to 160C/325F of warmth.)

When the potatoes are finished, place them in a pot with a tablespoon of minced parsley, a beneficiant glug of additional virgin olive oil, and salt to style.

Mash the potatoes. If wanted add some milk, water, or further virgin olive oil.

The mashed potatoes shouldn’t be too delicate and runny, however not too dry both. Maintain the mashed potatoes scorching on very low warmth in a coated pot, stirring at times to stop the underside from burning.

The fish solely wants about quarter-hour of sous vide cooking at 50C/122F, assuming that the fillet is just not thicker than 1.5 centimeters (1/2 inch). Whether it is thicker, lookup the heating time within the desk in this text.

Make the sauce on the finish, whereas the fish is within the sous vide. It is because the sauce is liable to breaking if you happen to permit it to get too scorching.

Add 1 egg yolk and 75 grams diced butter to the saucepan with the liquid that you simply ready earlier utilizing white wine, shallot, anchovy, and empty vanilla beans.

Enable the butter to soften over low warmth, stirring.

Maintain stirring over low warmth till the sauce has turn out to be thick, after which flip off the warmth. If the warmth is simply too excessive otherwise you prepare dinner it for too lengthy, the sauce will break.

It’s best to do the plating of this dish with two folks. One is making the sauce, whereas the opposite plates the mashed potato and cauliflower.

Take the fish out of the sous vide on the final second (it’s not an issue in any respect if the fish is saved within the sous vide for five, 10 and even quarter-hour longer) and place it on high of the mashed potatoes. Pour some scorching sauce on high of the fish. By putting the fish between the mashed potatoes and the sauce, it should preserve its heat higher. Serve the dish as quickly as potential, as a result of it should nonetheless cool off quite shortly because the fish was cooked at 50C/122F.

A technique to serve the fish at a better temperature is to briefly dip the bag with the fish inside in practically boiling water after sous vide cooking. Then take it out of the bag, and place it on high of the mashed potatoes.

Wine pairing

Due to the butter sauce and vanilla that is nice with an oaked buttery white wine, akin to an oaked Chardonnay (white Burgundy like Meursault). The very best is an oaked white Bordeaux of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, akin to a Pessac-Léognan. The Sauvignon works properly with the lemon zest, the oak with the vanilla, and the Sémillon with the butter.

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