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SUNDAY COOKING WITH CHEF JON ASHTON: SEA BASS WITH LEEKS & POTATOES

Chef Jon Ashton's Sea Bass with Leeks and Potatoes

Coastal Flavors Are on the Menu this Week

Your favorite table, next to the window, port side. You’ve just been welcomed back to Waterside with a smile following a day of exploring that charming fishing village, its bustling harbor lined with cafes and eateries serving the catch of the day. After meandering the avenues, visiting the centuries-old cathedrals and chatting with locals, you’re craving the fresh flavors of the sea. It’s 8 p.m. and, the ship having departed the port a couple of hours earlier, the vastness of the ocean outside your table’s window only whets your appetite more.

Evenings like this call for the simple elegance of fresh fare prepared with care, and Chef Jon Ashton’s featured recipe for the week suits the occasion perfectly. The recipe below offers your choice of sea bass or cod fillets, served with leeks and potatoes for a light and flaky entrée complemented by the hearty earthiness of root vegetables. Ideal for autumn nights by the sea or by your own fireplace, paired with your favorite sauvignon blanc – or even champagne, if you’re looking for that special vibe of black-tie evenings on board.

Prep your pantry, set your table – maybe even move it a little closer to the window – and join us for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton this Sunday, October 18 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.

Sea Bass with Leeks and Potatoes
By Chef Jon Ashton

Ingredients: 
4 pieces skinless sea bass fillet or skinless cod fillet (about 6 ounces each (170 grams each) and 1 to 1 ½ inches thick) 
Salt 
1 pound (454 grams, or .45 kg) Yukon gold potatoes. peeled, and chopped into ½ inch wedges
1 ½ cups (138 grams) diced or thinly sliced leeks, white parts only
Fresh thyme, a few sprigs 
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) chicken stock
¼ cup (60 ml) white wine
6 tablespoons (90 ml) cold unsalted butter, sliced and chilled 
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Champagne vinegar

Directions: 
Season the fish lightly and evenly with salt. Cover loosely and refrigerate. Try not to skip this step as it really helps keep the fish nice and juicy.

Gently simmer the potatoes in salted water until fork tender and soft on the edges. Don’t worry if a few potatoes seem to be too tender as they will diffuse into the sauce.

Drain the potatoes well and place them, still steaming, in a 12 or 14-inch ovenproof skillet. Add the leeks, thyme, chicken stock, and wine. Set skillet over medium heat and stir as the broth comes to a simmer. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter and give it a gentle stir. Taste a potato to see if the dish needs more salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and add the 4 pieces of fish (evenly spaced in skillet). 

Using a spoon or pastry brush, baste the surface of the fish with the buttery broth. Make sure no bits of leek are stuck on top of the fish or edges of the skillet.  Place the skillet under the broiler. Cook until the surface of the fish and potatoes are lightly golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. 

The liquid at the top of the pan should be bubbling. Turn off broiler and reduce the oven temperature to 500 degrees F.  Cook for another 1 to 5 minutes until fish has an internal temperature of 130 degrees F. 

While the fish is cooking, set a small, shallow platter and four plates to warm in the oven for a minute or so, then remove.

Transfer the skillet to the stove top. Using a fish slice or spatula, lift the fish, tilt a little to drain any broth, then place on the warm platter and tent with foil. Please don’t stack fish, as fish will fall apart. 

Swirl the skillet gently over medium heat to encourage the potatoes to thicken the sauce as it simmers. If potatoes are being stubborn, mash a couple with a fork. Add the remaining butter and stir in.

Once the sauce has a nice body, take another taste, feel free to add a splash or two (1 teaspoon) of Champagne vinegar to add brightness. 

Transfer the fish to warmed plates or bowls, and spoon the potatoes and sauce over. 

Serves 4. 

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

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