Recipe for Striped Bass in Savoy Cabbage with Bacon-Butter Sauce
4 ounces smoked bacon, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup clam stock
1 large head savoy cabbage
4 (6 ounce) portions striped bass fillet*
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
8 sprigs fresh chervil, optional
*Have the fishmonger cut this properly for you. Unfortunately, you need to have the belly portion cut off and use just part of the filet nearest the backbone.
Place the bacon in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Sauté until browned, and crisp about 4 to 6 minutes. Drain the bacon onto a towel-lined plate or tray and place all but 1 tablespoon into a medium-size saucepan.
Add the wine to the saucepan, bring the wine to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and clam stock, lower the heat slightly and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Strain the reduced stock into another clean saucepan and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Core the cabbage and remove the very green, outer leaves and discard. Pull off 4 very nice pale green leaves from the cabbage, trim off the tough center rib, and set them aside to blanch. Continue peeling the rest of the leaves of cabbage, reserving the core for another use.
Cut the white, center rib out of each of the cabbage leaves. Stack 2 leaves together, roll the cabbage leaves and cut the cabbage leaves into 1-inch strips. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Blanch the whole cabbage leaves in boiling water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water and set aside. Blanch the sliced cabbage in the boiling water until tender, about 1 minute; refresh under cold running water, drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Evenly season the striped bass filets on both sides with salt and white pepper. Lay out the whole leaves of blanched cabbage, making sure to overlap where needed. Season the leaves with salt and pepper. Place a piece of fish in the center of each leaf of cabbage. Wrap each filet by folding in the edges of the cabbage. Place the cabbage bundles in a roasting dish and add just enough water to barely cover the bottom. Bake the cabbage bundles until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in the fish for 5 seconds, feels hot when touched to your lip, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a simmer and whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until fully emulsified. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm. Place the sliced cabbage in another saucepan and add half of the bacon sauce and the reserved crispy bacon. Warm the cabbage over medium heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, make oval-shaped beds of cabbage in the center of 4 large plates. Place the baked fish on top of the cabbage. Spoon the sauce over the fish and around the cabbage, to cover the plates. Garnish with chervil, if desired. Serve immediately.