Hearty, meaty whitefish, such as sea bass, halibut, cod, can benefit from a little glamor, dressing up, when they come to the table. Julienne strips of carrot and leek, sprightly green celery leaves provide and enrich a simple Chardonnay wine broth that’s perfect for sopping with the crunchy toasts. It’s a dish that easily slides into the winter holiday hubbub when you want to serve something special with no hassle.
A note to my readers: I’m still here, but have been laid up with a back injury for the last 7 weeks. It was one of those setbacks that will get better, but is taking a while to heal, hence, the long interval since my last post and this one. More to come in the New Year!
Eight 3/4-inch thick diagonal baguette slices, slicked with olive oil on both sides, and toasted until lightly golden
Four 6-0unce white fish fillets each 3/4-inch thick, such as cod, halibut, sea bass
4 cups filtered water
1/2 cup Chardonnay wine
2 tablespoons white balsamic or champagne vinegar
1 small bay leaf, preferably fresh
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black, preferably freshly cracked
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 medium leek, including light green part, trimmed, slivered lengthwise, and rinsed to remove dirt debris
2 tablespoons celery leaves, for garnish
1. Make the bread toasts and set them aside.
2. Combine the water, wine, carrots, leek, tarragon, bay leaf, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Add the fish, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the fish flakes easily when prodded with a fork, about 6 minutes.
4. Transfer each fillet to an individual wide bowl or deep plate . Ladle the broth and vegetables over the top. Garnish with the celery leaves and croutons and serve.