In this episode of Plateworthy, chef Nyesha Arrington visits two Michelin stars Restaurant Jean-Georges in New York. She joins chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his executive chef Noah Poses as they develop a new menu item, a swordfish Milanese.
Swordfish tends to dry out if overcooked, but Poses came up with the idea of treating it like veal Milanese. As Vongerichten points out, the meat looks a lot like tuna because it’s a fatty fish, but it’s similar to pork or veal: “Let’s call it ocean veal,” he says.
They start by cutting thin slices of swordfish, so as not to make it too thick once the breading is added. The chefs then move on to shallow frying breaded swordfish in a pan with grapeseed oil, and once it’s a nice golden color, it’s immediately seasoned with salt, while the oil is hot. This allows the salt to be absorbed by the fish.
But what takes breaded swordfish to the next level is Vongerichten’s fermented chili sauce, made with jalapeños, orange zest and salt. Poses points out that while this sauce isn’t traditional for a Milanese, it gives the fish a nice touch of heat. Jalapeños let chefs control the heat however they like, and orange zest is added to taste: Vongerichten notes that he learned the technique of using zest for flavor in Japan.
To make the sauce, chefs mix white wine and brown butter in a heated skillet, cooking until it is the color of black coffee. They then add a combination of rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and parsley for seasoning. Chili ferment is added to this along with chopped parsley, onion and capers to complete the sauce that will accompany the swordfish.
“We want the first bite to be as exciting as the last,” says Vongerichten.