Chef Chat: Charles Stotts' Grilled Bass with a Roasted Vegetable Salad and Banyuls Vinaigrette
Slice a few lemons into "wheels" and blanch them three times in boiling water for about 20 seconds each time. Change the water after each blanch, as this helps reduce the bitterness of the lemon. Now make the poaching liquid for the lemons by combining 4 cups water, 3 cups sugar and 2 cups white wine vinegar. Heat to dissolve the sugar, then add lemons, bring to gentle simmer and cook about 30 minutes. Cool and store in the poaching liquid.
For the Banyuls Vinaigrette:
Salt and Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. While whisking, slowly drizzle in some olive oil to form the vinaigrette. Adjust acidity, if needed, with a few drops of fresh lemon juice, to taste.
For the Roasted Vegetables:
Clean and roast some shallots or cippoline onions, lightly drizzling with some good balsamic vinegar when they come from the oven, set aside to cool before cutting into a more bite sized piece.
Take some baby beets and place them in a baking dish with about ¼ cup of vegetable stock, cover with foil and roast at 400 degree oven for about an hour. Allow to cool, the peel the skins off with a kitchen towel. Slice in half.
Blanch some green beans in a large pot of salted water, until done, then shock in ice bath. Again, cut into a more bite sized piece.
For the bass:
Rub the bass with olive oil and season aggressively with salt and pepper. Gently grill the fish until just done, being careful not to overcook.
To assemble, place some field greens in a bowl with your chopped vegetables and lightly dress with your vinaigrette, tasting for seasoning, if needed. Chop up your preserved lemon into small dice, adding those to the salad as well. Place the salad on the plate, topping with the warm grilled fish.
Garnish with some heirloom tomato or even a pico lightly dressed in the preserved lemon liqueur.