Crab Recipes: Scorpionfish Farci Braised With A Crab Bouillabaisse

Scorpionfish Farci Braised With A Crab Bouillabaisse

For the Filling
  • 1/2 cup 3/8-inch dice fresh chorizo
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 2 cups 1/4-inch dice white bread croutons
  • 1 cup jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for pieces of shell
  • 1/2 cup plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed julienne basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen or fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d'espelette red chili powder
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine grind sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Fish
  • One 4 to 5 pounds whole scorpionfish or red snapper
  • Fine grind sea salt
  • Piment d'espelette red chili pepper
  • Crab filling
For braising the Fish
  • 2 medium Globe or purple tipped artichokes cleaned of tough outer leaves, stem cut to three inches and trimmed of its fibrous, dark green outer layer
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 cup spring onions, outer layer removed and cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 small red bell pepper peeled, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 4 fennel stalks
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavoured liqueur
  • 2 cups fish stock or low-sodium chicken stock
  • Fine grind sea salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed basil leaves
Cooking Methods:
For the Filling:
  • Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chorizo and cook until it renders its fat and starts to crisp, about 3 minutes. Pour off and discard the fat.
  • Add the garlic and the scallions. Cook with the chorizo, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Be sure that the stuffing cools down before stuffing the fish.
To prepare the Fish:
  • Cut or trim, with kitchen scissors, the fins, gills, and quills. Using a sharp, thin knife, start from the head and cut along the entire dorsal side along the spine and against the backbone to the tail. Repeat on the other side.
  • Cut the backbone at the head and the tail and carefully remove. You will now have a pocket or cavity. Very carefully remove all of the bones and innards from inside the fish making sure the belly does not get pierced.
  • Rinse the fish and cavity carefully under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place the fish, belly side down, on the work surface. Season the inside with salt and a little chili powder.
  • Carefully fill the cavity with the stuffing. Tie at intervals around the fish to help maintain its shape. The ties should be snug, to help keep it closed during cooking, but not tight enough to cut into the flesh.
  • The fish can be prepared and kept refrigerated for a few hours prior to cooking the fish.
To braise the Fish:
  • Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
  • If refrigerated, remove the fish from the refrigerator while preparing the vegetables and braising liquid. Place the fish, belly side down, in a braising pan large enough to hold it, the vegetables, and the broth.
  • Cut the artichokes in half, lengthwise.
  • Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but has not reached its smoking point, carefully add the artichokes and cook, turning from time to time, until lightly browned on all sides, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the fennel, spring onions, and bell pepper. Continue to cook for a few minutes carefully turning the vegetables as they cook.
  • Add the garlic, saffron, fennel stalks, and thyme, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, wine, Pernod, and fish stock and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and season with salt to taste.
  • Place the vegetables and broth around the fish. Place the lemon slices over the stuffing.
  • Place in the oven and braise until the fish is firm, but not tough, and flakes when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Periodically, during the cooking, baste the fish with some of the broth.
  • Carefully remove the fish from the pan and transfer to a serving platter. Remove the lemon slices and reserve.
  • Cut off and discard the twine. Return the lemon slices to the top of the fish.
  • Place the braised vegetables around the fish and add some of the broth.
  • Garnish with parsley and basil leaves. Serve immediately.

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