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Pancetta Wrapped Passmore Ranch Sturgeon

Green Lentils, Smoked Garlic, Thyme Jus

Mark Dommen - Chef/Partner One Market Restaurant

Ingredients

3 # trimmed sturgeon filet
Thinly sliced pancetta
1 small onion
1 small carrot
1 small fennel bulb
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups green lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
8 cloves garlic
Apple wood smoking chips
1 pint cream
½ bunch tarragon, chopped
½ bunch chives, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup grapeseed oil
salt
½ cup chicken jus (see recipe)
½ bunch fresh thyme
1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Chive blossoms or any other blossoms for garnish.

Preparation

  • Purchase a 3 pound piece of sturgeon that has been completely trimmed down to the flesh or buy a 3 ½ - 3 ¾ # piece and trim it yourself. There is a thick layer of fat between the skin and flesh on sturgeon and I like to trim this completely off leaving just the flesh. The fat layer has a tendency to be stronger tasting and I find the most people enjoy it more when trimmed off. Ask your fish monger about this and he should understand what your talking about. Cut the trimmed sturgeon into 4 x 12 oz pieces. You will get 2 portions out of each piece. Also, purchase pancetta that has been sliced as thin as possible. It’s a little difficult to give you an amount because the weight will depend on how thick the pancetta is sliced. At One Market, we freeze the whole piece of pancetta and slice it on a meat slicer while frozen. This allows us to cut super thin pieces of pancetta. It becomes very difficult to slice it thinly when it begins to warm up on the slicer.
  • Season the sturgeon with salt and pepper. Take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it flat on your work service, next lay the thinly sliced pancetta in a shingle pattern slightly overlapping the previous piece until you have enough pancetta laid out to wrap a piece of sturgeon. Place the sturgeon at the beginning of the prepared pancetta and using the plastic wrap to help fold the pancetta over the sturgeon filet wrap the sturgeon with pancetta. As the pancetta wraps around the sturgeon pull the end of the plastic wrap up so that it’s only the pancetta wrapping around the fish and not the plastic as well. When the sturgeon is entirely wrapped, tightly wrap the sturgeon with the plastic wrap until ready to cook it. Do the same with the rest of the sturgeon filets.
  • Finely dice the onion, carrot and fennel for the sofrito. In a medium sized sauce pot, add ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil and place it over medium to low heat. Add the onion, carrot and fennel and cook over low heat until the vegetables are super soft and concentrated in flavor with little or no color about 30-45 minutes. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Peel the garlic and blanch it three times in boiling water each time changing the water. After the garlic has been blanched, prepare a small stove top smoker with apple wood chips and smoke the garlic for 5-10 minutes until it picks up the smoke flavor. In a small sauce pan, combine the smoked garlic with the cream and reduce the cream by half. Place the mixture into a blender, season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
  • While making the garlic cream, cook the lentils in vegetable stock until tender. I like to add a mixture of herbs to the lentils while they are cooking. A few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. When the lentils are tender, remove from the fire and season them with salt. The lentils will absorb the salt while they are cooling off.
  • Heat the chicken jus to a boil and add the ½ bunch of fresh thyme. Remove from the heat and allow the thyme to infuse into the jus. After about 30 minutes, taste the jus and add 1-2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar in order to balance the richness of the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
  • Remove the sturgeon from the plastic wrap and very lightly season it with salt and pepper. Place a cast iron skillet on high heat with ¼ cup of grapeseed oil. Depending on the size of the skillet you can sear all at once or a few at a time until it’s all seared. When the pan it hot, place the sturgeon in the pan with the seam of the pancetta facing down. This will seal the pancetta around the sturgeon and shrink wrap it while is sears. Continue to sear all sides of the pancetta until all the fish has been seared. Remove the fish to roasting pan and place into a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. You want the sturgeon to have slight opaque center when you slice it. Remove the sturgeon from the oven and allow to rest for 8 or so minutes.
  • Drain the liquid from the lentils and place them into a sauce pot with the sofrito, garlic cream, chopped tarragon, chives and butter. Heat to combine and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Set aside. Divide the lentils among 8 bowls; slice each sturgeon into 6 pieces. Place three of the pieces on top of the bowls of lentils and spoon the hot thyme jus around. Garnish with chive flower or whatever herbs you have on hand and serve immediately

Chicken Jus

Chicken bones, coarsely chopped into small pieces
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups red wine
2 cups port wine
1 ½ qts chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme
½ sprig rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves

In a large heavy bottom pot, over medium to high heat, add the chicken bones and allow them to brown evenly. Continuously stir them in order to brown evenly. When the bones are nice and brown, strain off any excess fat that has rendered out from the bones and add the chopped vegetables to the pan. Continue to brown the vegetable and the bones, when the vegetables are nice and brown, add the tomato paste and cook for two more minutes to cook out some of the raw tomato flavor. Deglaze the pot with the red wind and port wine, allowing to reduce until almost dry. Cover with the chicken stock, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down to until it barely simmers and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth and skim off any excess fat that may rise to the surface. Once degreased, place back on the stove and reduce over high heat until it coats the back of a sauce spoon. This should yield approximately 1 to 2 cups of chicken jus.

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