Cress Restaurant executive chef and owner Hari Pulapaka visited Good Day Orlando to show us how to make his recipe for herb-crusted Florida striped sea bass with fiddlehead fern risotto.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1.5 hours (mainly to cook grains)
2 8 oz. filets of striped sea bass or Florida red snapper or other Florida snapper
1 tbs fresh tarragon, minced
1 tbs fresh parsley, minced
1 tbs fresh basil, minced
1 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
1 tbs store bought Creole spice blend (low sodium, if available)
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1/2 cup farro
1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 cup pearl cous-cous
1 tsp minced shallots or red onion
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup dry white wine or homemade seafood stock
2 cups fiddlehead ferns (substitute asparagus if unavailable)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Clean and trim fish filets. Keep cold. Dry toast farro and wild rice in saute pan for 1 minute. In a pot of unsalted water, simmer farro and wild rice for about 45 minutes. Add the cous-cous and cook for an additional 15 minutes or so until cous-cous is cooked, but not overcooked. Drain and toss in extra virgin olive oil so the grains don't stick together. Add 3/4 of the fresh herbs to the panko bread crumbs and mix. Set aside. Clean the fiddlehead ferns well, blanch in salted water for about 4-5 minutes. Cool in ice bath. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Put two saute pans (nonstick if necessary) on a stove top over medium heat. Brush fish filets with extra virgin olive oil and season with Creole spice blend, salt and pepper. Dredge lightly in her bed bread crumbs. Saute the encrusted fish in olive oil until it is golden brown on one side. Turn over the filet and cook for a minute. Add the white wine or stock to the pan, immediately place into oven. The fish should cook in 4 minutes or so. Remove and let rest. In other saute pan, add some olive oil and saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and stir well for about 15 seconds. Add blanched fiddlehead ferns (or asparagus) and cooked grains. Stir well. Add cooked grains and heavy cream. Taste to make sure it's well-seasoned. Finish with a pat of butter, the remaining fresh herbs and lemon zest.
Serve the cooked fish atop a serving of the risotto and garnish with freshly fried potato chips and a wedge of lemon.