Chesapeake Bay Rockfish Recipe

Recipe by Tapas Chef Mike Farrell

Winner of the 2009 March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction "Chef's Choice Award"

From Executive Chef Michael Farrell
Still Worldly Eclectic Tapas, Portsmouth

This dish has three components: prepare the Smithfield Ham Cracklin's first, the Sweet Potato Nage second, and the Rockfish sauté third and then bring all the elements together.

1 ounce soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 ounces Smithfield country ham, shaved thin

In a small sauce pan, combine soy sauce, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce reduces and thickens to a glaze. Evenly lay ham slices onto a cookie sheet and brush with glaze; cook in a 350F oven until ham browns and crisps, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and break into small pieces.

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups diced Hayman sweet potatoes
(note: other sweet potatoes works well too)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup water
1 tablespoon instant dashi

Heat butter in a medium sauté pan; add potatoes and onion and cook until lightly browned. Deglaze with wine and water. Add dashi, stir, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Note: Hayman sweet potatoes are an heirloom white sweet potato with intense sweetness, generally found grown only on the Eastern Shore of Virginia;
Nage is a cooking term; in French, the word means "a swimming," and the term refers to a broth in which something is both cooked and served.
Dashi is a Japanese cooking stock available at most area Asian markets. It is typically sold in dry form and is reconstituted for use.

1 pound rockfish fillet, cut into four 4-ounce pieces
(note: other firm-fleshed white fish works well too)
1 cup roasted, shelled peanuts, chopped
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup jumbo lump crabmeat

In a shallow bowl, combine chopped peanuts, flour, salt and black pepper. Dredge each rockfish piece in the coating. Heat oil and butter in a medium sauté pan and lightly sear each rockfish piece until brown. Drain off oil and add the Sweet Potato Nage. Place the Rockfish/Nage in a 350F oven for five minutes.

To plate: in a deep bowl, spoon in four tablespoons of the nage; sprinkle on top two tablespoons jumbo lump crabmeat, then rest one piece of the rockfish on top. Garnish with ham cracklin'.

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