Black Bass, Grapefruit & Crab Salad, Caramelized Bok Choy, Citrus-Ginger Dressing

I’m living every dad’s dream right now, a little break from the family.  The mrs. has left and taken both the girls with her to Europe for two months.  For now, there is no more fighting for bathroom time, no snarky remarks about sports on TV, no crying, no spilled bowls of cereal, no arguments about who the toy belongs to, no need to be quiet after 8 pm and a plethora of scary movies without commentary.

The wife, being from Germany, goes back every year for an extended period of time to visit with family, they are all very close.  It’s very different than my family and what I am used to.  While we enjoy seeing each other, we can go months without so much as an email between us.  It wasn’t always like that.  Before my mother passed she was the glue that kept everyone in touch.  She arranged phone calls, trips, get togethers and the like because she knew how each person in our family was a little bit disconnected.  Then you get together and promise to stay more in touch, and while your intentions are 100% pure, life gets in the way.  You work 70 hours a week, the girls have school and gymnastics and play dates, the yard needs work, the bills need paid, and pretty soon your well intentioned promise fades.

While they are gone for those two months, I take the time to do those things I want.  I visit friends I haven’t seen in a while, I go to bed later, I sleep in, I take longer showers and I spend alot more time with the camera.  I take over the kitchen and don’t have to worry about anybody tripping over light stands or knocking over tripods.  After two weeks of this, I am recharged.  I’ve been productive, I’ve caught up around the house and I’ve made progress.  By the third week, I begin to miss the fighting for bathroom time, the snarky remarks about sports on TV, the crying, the spilled bowls of cereal, the arguments about who the toy belongs to, the need to be quiet after 8 pm and the plethora of scary movies without commentary.  Six more weeks to go…

But for now, I’m still in that first two weeks so things are good, and I’ve got a new post to prove it.  This dish is going on the menu this week, it’s a simple and light dish.  I’ve chosen a delicate black bass to use, a Seafood Watch ‘Best Choice’ fish although you can use a different fish if you choose.

Black Bass, Grapefruit & Crab Salad with Caramelized Bok Choy, Ginger-Citrus Dressing

Serves 4

1 ½# black bass fillet, 6 oz portions
cooking oil
Kosher salt

Grapefruit & Crab Salad with Caramelized Bok Choy

2 grapefruits, segmented and juiced
4 heads baby bok choy
4 oz crabmeat, rock or lump
¼ cup cilantro chiffonade
Cracked Black pepper

1. Blanch the whole heads of baby bok choy in lightly salted boiling water, 2 minutes.
2. Shock the bok choy in ice water.
3. Half the bok choy lengthwise.
4. Heat a sautee pan up with a scant amount of oil and sear the bok choy, cut side down, until it browns.
5. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
6. Save 4 halves of the bok choy for plating, remove the core and slice the remaining heads into thin strips.
7. Place the thin strips in a mixing bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.

Ginger-Citrus Dressing

Juice of the 2 segmented grapefruits from the salad
3 limes, juiced
1 oz fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
2 Tbs. soy sauce
¼ cup honey
4 oz neutral salad oil (safflower, sunflower, canola, rapeseed, light olive, basically your preference)

1. Combine the lime juice, grapefruit juice, garlic and ginger and allow to macerate for 5 minutes.
2. Add honey and soy sauce and mix well.
3. Whisk in the salad oil until fully incorporated.

To Plate

1. Season fish with salt.
2. Heat a sauté pan with just enough cooking oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
3. Sear the bass skin side down in cooking oil.
4. Flip and continue cooking until your preferred doneness.
5. Remove the fish to paper towels and allow to drain for a moment.
6. Place one half of the seared bok choy on each plate.
7. Top with the fish.
8. Set the grapefruit & Crab Salad next to the fish.
9. Top with the Ginger-Citrus dressing, allowing it to pool below the salmon.
10. Serve immediately.

4 Responses

  1. Pingback: Crab Boil A Summer Classic | Michael Ruhlman

  2. ahhh those first few days are glorious aren’t they? such peace and quiet and then suddenly… too quiet! The photos are superb – makes me want to pick up a fork and dig right in! Wish your restaurant wasn’t so far away!

  3. Beautiful recipe and photo Chris. I recently made bok choy for the first time and am grateful to see this recipe as I just got another couple of heads in my organic delivery and am still unsure of what to do with them!

    I also just used grapefruit for a flank steak marinade…why oh why did I wait so long? It’s my new favorite acid for salads too. Now to find some fish!

  4. Hi just saw your tweet and popped over! What a sweet story! And as usual your photography is phenomenal. I’ve bookmarked to make when I return from my travels, I’m a huge fan of anything with an acidic dressing :)

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