2 whole branzino (sea bass), gutted, scaled and washed
4 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 lemon peel, divided between the two fish
4 fennel stalks
4 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp ground pepper
¼ C of Pontarlier-Anis Ponsec (may substitute Pernod)
½ lb fingerling potatoes, rinsed and halved lengthwise
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
¼ C dry white wine
¼ C white wine vinegar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise pod
2 Tbsp shallots, finely chopped
⅓ C heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground white pepper
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
Prepping time: 30 minutes / Cooking time: 20 - 25 minutes (excludes sous vide cooking)
Stuff the fish with bay leaves, garlic, lemon peel, and trimmed fennel stalks. You may keep the fennel whole or cut the stalks into three-inch segments if they don’t fit in the belly of the fish.
Brush with olive oil and season evenly with salt and pepper.
Seal the fish in sous-vide pouch and cook at 143.6°F (62°C) for 45 minutes.
To finish, open the pouch and grill the fish for three to five minutes each side, drizzling with the Ponsec (anise liqueur) on each side. Use caution, as flames may shoot up when you pour the liquor.
Boil the wine, vinegar, fennel seeds, anise pod, and shallots in a small saucepot over medium-high heat for five to seven minutes or until a few tablespoons of liquid remain and it has thickened.
Whisk in heavy cream, salt, and white pepper, then boil for another minute.
Reduce to low heat and slowly incorporate 1 tablespoon of butter at a time, whisking constantly. Be careful not to bring sauce to a boil while whisking in butter.
Lift the pan away from the heat on occasion, if needed, to prevent from boiling. Once all the butter has been incorporated, remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Place all ingredients in a sous-vide pouch and flatten so the potatoes cook evenly.
Seal and cook at 181.4°F (83°C) for three hours.
Once done, carefully open the pouch and place the potatoes on a sheet tray.
Broil in oven for three minutes or until browned.
Remove from the oven and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Place the potatoes on a large plate with the grilled branzino on top, then pour the beurre blanc over the fish or serve on the side.
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