Loup de Mer à la Provençale
Prepared in Honor of Julia Child’s 100th Birthday
Crispy Skin Mediterranean Sea Bass
Provence-Style Salad with Anchovy
Roquette, Green Bell Pepper, Red Onion, Tomato, Cucumber, Olive
Herb Garlic Vinaigrette
“Simca, Paul, Patricia, and I… penetrated into this beautiful courtyard and were seated at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis. It was a splendid lunch, moving from apéritifs to pâté of fresh duck livers and truffles, thick slices of pain brioche, a timbale, tomatoes and a green salad. But the real reason we were there was for the loup de mer.” Julia Child, My Life in France
Salade à la Provençale
- Roquette (arugula)
- Green bell pepper, thin wheels
- Red onion, thin wheels
- Tomato, small wedges
- Cucumber, thin slices
- Olives, assorted
- Anchovy fillets
Herb Garlic Vinaigrette
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Dried oregano
- Garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Salt & pepper
Lightly toss roquette with vinaigrette. Place roquette in a small mound on a plate. Arrange onion, cucumber, and bell pepper over the roquette. Surround with tomato and olives. Place anchovy fillets over the salad. Spoon vinaigrette over the top.
Loup de Mer
Fresh loup de mer (Mediterranean sea bass) is flown in daily. Its character is delicate and unique. The meat is moist and buttery, flaky yet smooth, firm yet tender, silky and velvety, like nothing else really. The skin is thin and delicious especially when sautéed to a crisp, or charred over a fire. Loup de mer is equally delightful served as boneless fillets or presented as the whole fish.
The fishmonger de-scales and guts the whole fresh fish. With a sharp knife, I make a perpendicular cut just behind the pectoral fin. Then starting near the head, make a one inch incision all the way down the back to the tail, as close to the backbone as possible. Using the tip of the knife, in a smooth motion, continue to cut the flesh away from the bones all the way to the belly of the fish. Slice the flesh away from the tail fin. Flip the fish over and fillet the other side.
The fillets are rinsed and patted dry. Both sides are seasoned with salt and pepper then the skin side is dusted with Wondra (fine-milled) flour.
Let the fillets come close to room temperature before cooking. Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the fillets, skin-side down. Turn the heat to medium high to prevent the oil from smoking. Press the flesh of the fish with the back of a spatula to keep the fish from curling. Continue to press down with the spatula, squeezing out any air pockets between the skin and the flesh.
When the skin side is nice and crisp, turn the fillets over and briefly cook the other side. To serve, place the fish over the salad, crispy skin-side up. Spoon a bit more vinaigrette over the fish.
Loup de Mer Grillé
Do you prefer the boneless fillets or the whole grilled fish?
The whole fish is rubbed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, stuffed with a few lemon wheels, then grilled over high heat. Grilling over a hot fire imparts the wonderful smokey component through the skin which complements the fish, rather than overpowering it. The edible skin is crisp and charred contrasting the slightly soft melt-in-the-mouth exquisite white flesh. Using a grill basket makes easy work of flipping the fish, while keeping the nicely charred skin intact for serving. Spoon vinaigrette over the whole fish and decorate with several anchovy fillets.
Pretty Roses for Julia
I pair the butter-colored Julia Child Floribunda Rose (of course) and the wonderfully fragrant April in Paris Hybrid Tea Rose in an un-fussy arrangement for Julia’s birthday.
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child
Toujours Bon Appétit
Join the world in celebrating Julia Child: #CookForJulia
13 thoughts on “Loup de Mer à la Provençale #CookForJulia”
Julia must be smiling down on Taste with the Eyes. This is beautiful!
All over the blogosphere we are reading so many amazing dishes, anecdotes and tales of Julia Child.She truly touched us all in one way or another.
Your blog and pictures are so beautiful. The post is nicely put together. 🙂
This is not just about the Julia many of us ‘knew’ and do remember: this is so special to pass onto those who love the world of food but have never had the chance to know this part of the story . . .
This is so beautiful! What a lovely tribute. I explain to people that Julia is the patron saint of all food bloggers – she is well honored here.
What an interesting life she led, no? I love your tribute to her and this sea bass dish. You make it look so easy, but everything you make has a special touch, like that gorgeous photo of the roses.
Wow, this is such a gorgeous tribute – but then, your food and plating is always just breathtaking!
you are one talented and sophisticated chef. I love your take on her career. I was going to participate in the JC event as well but had to pass. This is simply stunning. Will share on my wall! 🙂
What a fantastic way of celebrating her Birthday! Your photos are gorgeous and making my mouth water. Thanks for sharing:)
Julia would love this. It is absolutely fabulous.
What a wonderful choice of a recipe to honor Julia! Looks delicious.
Whole grilled fish!! That way we can still keep the flesh to be moist and packed with flavor… I’m pretty good with fish head/eyes/bones presented on a plate. 😉 Fantastic salad!