One chef, one recipe: Herb-crusted sea bass by Chef Vineet Rawat

For Vineet Rawat, Sous Chef at Neemrana’s Tijara Fort-Palace, food is a symphony and he likes to create a new one every day. For us he rustled up a herb-crusted sea bass — with a lot of bells and whistles.

When we asked Chef Vineet Rawat at Neemrana’s Tijara Fort-Palace to describe his favourite dish, we could see he was having a tough time putting his finger down on one particular dish. After some thought, he concluded, like a true modern-day culinary enthusiast, “It is never really about having a favourite dish or cuisine, rather it’s the marriage of ingredients and the melody they compose together.” He added with a humble chuckle, “I am not a person who avidly seeks operas and concerts, but I believe my food is my composition and I create a new symphony every day.”

Chef vineet rawat of neemrana's tijara fort-palace
Chef Vineet Rawat of Neemrana’s Tijara Fort-Palace

After working at multiple culinary ventures across Mumbai, Chef Vineet took some time off from his hectic schedule to grow and develop himself into a modern-age chef. “I firmly believe that a work-life balance is a key aspect towards success in one’s life, but there are more tangents and slip roads on my path towards success,” he said. He added that, along with a healthy work-play lifestyle, it is important to take time off for personal growth — to develop new skills, read, research, and train with like-minded individuals.

Chef Vineet took us through a dish he had been creating and we were amazed at every syllable that popped out of the young genius’s mind. He said that he had been working around ways to celebrate individual ingredients, then bringing them together to enhance each other’s strengths. “Like how in a playground every child is different with his/her own strengths and quirks, but at the end of the day you find them enjoying each other’s company,” he explained. 

The dish he talked about was a “herb-crusted sea bass in a celery lime beurre blanc, served with quinoa black garlic salad, beet cured yolk, palm heart stuffed spiced berry, charred Asian greens, and finished with a lemon foam.” If Chef Vineet decides to add the dish to his menu, he said he will just state the ingredients and let the mystery titillate the guests’ minds before they eventually experience the dish.

Herb-crusted sea bass

Chef vineet's herb-crusted sea bass
Chef Vineet’s Herb-crusted sea bass

Ingredients

180 gm sea bass

For the marinade

10 ml olive oil

2 gm salt

Pinch of pepper

10 gm Dijon mustard

For the herb crust

10 gm Parmesan

15 gm dehydrated celery leaf

15 gm panko crumbs

Zest from 1 lemon

2 gm paprika powder

2 gm black pepper (freshly ground)

2 gm salt

For the celery lemon beurre blanc

5 gm shallots

15 ml lemon juice

30 ml white wine

60 gm butter 

30 gm celery leaf puree

3 gm salt

1 gm black pepper (freshly ground)

For the beet-cured egg yolk

100 gm beet puree

70 ml red wine vinegar

5 gm toasted fennel seeds

1 egg yolk

10 gm salt

For the charred vegetables

4 leaves bok choy

1 spring onion bulb

3 cherry tomatoes

For the quinoa salad

50 gm black quinoa

2 black garlic pieces

5 gm daikon

15 ml extra virgin olive oil

5 ml red wine vinegar

5 gm red bell pepper

5 ml tabasco sauce

2 gm salt

Pinch of black pepper (freshly ground)

For the stuffed palm heart with spiced berry puree

1 palm heart

30 gm raspberry puree

2 gm roasted cumin (ground finely)

2 gm paprika powder

For the lemon foam

80 ml lemon juice

2 gm soy lecithin

120 ml water

Method

  1. Score the skin and marinate the fish. Keep aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, then sear the marinated fish in a pan with the skin side down first and eventually flip on to the other side. Once the desired colour is attained, remove from heat and let rest.
  3. Blend the herb crust mixture and apply on the fish. Roast it for 7 minutes at 170°C. 
  4. For the sauce, in a pan pour lemon juice with finely chopped shallots, then reduce the lemon juice. Once reduced, deglaze with white wine and remove from heat. Whisk in cold butter (small cubes) to emulsify. Finish with celery puree until smooth in texture.
  5. For the beet-cured yolk, in a bowl add the beet puree, vinegar, toasted fennel seeds and salt. Mix well, and gently add the yolk and let it cure for 30-40 minutes.
  6. For the charred vegetables, in a pan add oil and heat till it becomes smoky. Sear the vegetables till they get the desired char. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. For the quinoa salad, begin by rinsing the quinoa thoroughly, then boil till it gets cooked and set aside to cool. Cut the vegetables in brunoises, add the quinoa, make a dressing of olive oil, vinegar, tabasco, salt and pepper. Toss in the quinoa.
  8. For the stuffed palm heart with puree, take a palm heart and remove the inner core. Add the spice to the raspberry puree and pipe inside the palm heart.
  9. For the lemon foam, in a bowl pour lemon juice and water, add in the soy lecithin and blend it at an angle with an immersion blender, slowly incorporating air. Continue this till the desired frothy consistency is achieved.
  10.  Garnish with dehydrated lemon slice, edible flower, paprika tuile.
  11.  Top with the lemon foam right before serving the dish.

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