|Chef Romano in his kitchen|
Chef Romano was at The Modern, the wildly successful Danny Meyer restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art for 8 years. To salute his arrival, Florence Fabricant of the New York Times approached the chef for a recipe to complement an article on Greek wines. The Chef came up with a recipe for Branzino with a semi-warm arugula sauce that the roasted fish sits on. It has the bitterness of arugula combined with enough citrus to give the sauce some acidity which is very complimentary to the floral quality of Greek wines. And it’s a breeze to make, taking all of 40 minutes from start to finish.
Arugula, called Rocket in other parts of the English-speaking world, is a great healthy choice. Arugula has only been domesticated since the 1970s, so food scientists haven’t yet messed with its goodness. It’s rich in the cancer-fighting compound glucosinolates and higher in anti-oxidants than many other greens. Together with some chervil, flat-leaf parsley, lemon juice and an egg to bind the whole thing together, it’s a revelation. The other thing that makes this dish attractive, is the great ‘gremolata’ of pink peppercorns, lemon zest and fresh thyme that brings color to the fish. Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Branzino with Arugula Sauce from Chef Sandro Romano of Armani Ristorante, NYC with thanks to Florence Fabricant.
Serves 2.* Takes 40 minutes start to finish
1 large egg
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 branzino or other white-fleshed fish fillets, with skin, about 12 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 cups arugula, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1/3 cup chervil
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add egg, cook 6 minutes, drain and set aside.
Place a Silpat or sheet of parchment paper in a baking dish large enough to hold the fish. Brush Silpat or paper with 1/2 tablespoon oil.
Brush fish on both sides with another 1/2 tablespoon of oil and place in dish, skin side down. Combine fleur de sel, pink peppercorns, thyme and lemon zest and scatter on fish.
Peel egg and coarsely chop. Into a blender, add egg, arugula, chervil, parsley, 3 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and the 1/3 cup olive oil. Process to a fine purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Put fish in the oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes, until just cooked through. Spread sauce on each of 2 warm dinner plates. Make a bed for the fish with the arugula sauce and place each fillet on top of it. Season fish with salt and pepper. Serve.