Seared Hamachi with Espelette Pepper and Citrus-Fennel Salad
Citrus and fish are a natural match. Substitute the citrus of your choice, but always balance sweet with tart. If you can’t locate Espelette pepper, substitute Aleppo or use finely ground red chili flakes sparingly. Serves 4 to 6.Print this recipe
1½ pounds Hamachi filet
2 blood oranges
2 mandarin oranges
2 Meyer lemons
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large bulb fennel
3 cups wild baby arugula or watercress, washed and dried well
1. Portion the Hamachi into 6 equal slices. Each slice should weigh approximately 4 ounces. Salt each piece lightly, place in a non-reactive dish, wrap and refrigerate until ready to sear. This can be done up to 1 day in advance.
2. Peel blood oranges, mandarins and 1 Meyer lemon with a sharp knife. Be sure to remove all pith. Slice citrus in half lengthwise and remove any pips and pull out the white foamy core with your fingers.
3. Slice the blood orange and mandarins into ¼ inch thick slices and reserve separately so the blood orange doesn’t discolor the mandarins. Slice the halved lemon into quarters and then slice into ¼ inch thick slices and reserve separately.
4. Juice the remaining lemon and reserve the juice.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, white wine vinegar, sugar, salt and ¼ teaspoon Espelette pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes then whisk in the olive oil. Add more lemon juice and salt to taste.
6. Trim the fronds and root end from the fennel bulb. Cut in half and remove the core with a sharp knife. Place the cut half flat on a cutting board and slice the bulb thinly on the vertical in line with the natural lines of the bulb. Toss the fennel with a very small amount of vinaigrette and place on a serving plate.
7. Remove the Hamachi from the refrigerator. Heat a large heavy-bottomed saute pan over high heat. Add a splash of olive oil and then the Hamachi. Sear for 1 minute. Then sear the other side for 1 minute. Place the Hamachi on top of the fennel and sprinkle lightly with Espelette pepper. Drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette and sprinkle half of the citrus segments over the fish.
8. Place the greens in a medium bowl and add the remaining citrus. Add half of the remaining vinaigrette and toss. Taste for salt and acid balance. Add more salt or lemon juice as needed. Place the greens on top of the fish and serve immediately.