Online Exclusive: Poached Local Triggerfish Recipe

BY Chef Tripp Engle of Brasserie du Soleil

Poached Local Triggerfish with green garlic puree Meyer lemon-olive oil emulsion muscadine grapes and grape tomatoes with African blue basil
Recipe courtesy Chef Tripp Engle of Brasserie du Soleil

Serves 4


4 – 7 oz. cleaned local Triggerfish filets (Motts Channel seafood)
1 pound green garlic (young spring garlic with the stalk) (Shelton herb farm)
1 cup fresh cream (Jackson Dairy farm)
2 oz. minced country ham (Allan Benton Madisonville Tennessee)
4 oz. fresh butter (Jackson Dairy Dunn North Carolina)
2 oz. heirloom buckwheat flour (Anson Mills Columbia South Carolina)
16 oz. fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Half bottle dry Vermouth
6 oz. extra virgin olive oil
12 Muscadine grapes (peeled and seeded) native to North Carolina
12 peeled grape tomatoes (locally grown in many places)
2 bunches African blue basil (Shelton Herb Farm)
2 oz. local honey (Brookwood Bees)
Redmond Real Salt (to taste)
Fresh ground white pepper (to taste)

Poaching liquid: Melt 2 ounces of butter and add flour while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon over low heat until you form a thick paste (Roux). Set aside to cool. In a shallow but wide braising pot (Rondeau) pour in the Vermouth and 8 ounces of the Meyer lemon juice. Bring the liquid to a simmer and stir in the roux. The liquid should thicken to the viscosity of a thick soup. Maintain a low heat of 155 – 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt and pepper to taste.

Green garlic puree: Remove the root end and slice the garlic stalks and bulbs 1/4 inch thick. Put the garlic into a bucket of cold water to clean out any dirt (let soak for 10 minutes the  dirt will settle to the bottom and the garlic will float). While the Garlic is soaking combine the minced country ham and fresh cream in a saucepot and bring it to a simmer. When the cream has taken on the ham flavor filter out the ham and reserve for another use. Bring a pot of water to boil and then add the cleaned garlic. Boil until softened (5 min.) and drain. Put the garlic immediately into an ice water bath to cool and retain color. Remove the garlic and puree in a blender with the ham-infused cream. Cover the puree and save for later.

Meyer lemon emulsion: In a blender add the remaining Meyer lemon juice and turn the blender on high. While the juice is spinning add 2 ounces of local honey and then slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil to the vortex of the spinning liquid. The liquid should slightly thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly: Place the Triggerfish filets into the wide poaching pot and gently cook until you can stick a metal skewer or cake tester into the thickest part of the fish without much resistance (the skewer should be warm when you touch it to your chin or lip if it is hot the fish is overdone if it is cold the fish is underdone). When the fish is done remove it from the poaching liquid using a slotted spatula and place on a towel-lined pan to drain. On warm plates: spoon a pool of garlic puree in the center. Place the fish filet on the garlic puree and spoon the emulsion around the puree. Slice the basil leaves into thin ribbons (chiffonade) while the tomatoes and grapes are being gently warmed with a little bit of the olive oil salt and pepper. Season the fish with salt and pepper and top with the basil. Add three grape tomatoes to each plate (on top of the emulsion) and serve warm. Bon appetit!