Pan Seared Branzino with Artichokes and Morels
8 6oz Branzino filets, scaled
6 Tbs butter
6 Tbs olive oil
4 large artichokes bottoms
4 cups morel mushrooms
1 cup white wine
Fresh chives, finely minced
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 large lemon, sliced in half
Fill a large sauté pan half way with salted water and bring it to a light boil. Trim artichokes of all their leaves and tough green parts with a sharp knife, taking the artichoke bottom down to the tender creamy colored core. After trimming the artichokes, rub them with lemon and put them into the simmering water along with the lemon half. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat to low. Simmer the artichoke bottoms until tender, about 15 minutes. When the artichokes are cooked, remove the spiky, fibrous choke with a spoon. Cut the artichoke bottoms into 6 pieces each and set aside.
Take a large nonstick sauté pan and heat 2 Tbs of olive oil. Add the morel mushrooms and sprinkle them with kosher salt. As the morels cook, add 1 cup water. Gently cook the morels until soft, about 5 minutes. If the pan gets too dry, add more water. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
Meanwhile, score the skin of the branzino with a sharp knife. Salt and pepper the flesh of the skin.
In the same pan, add 2Tbs of oil and 2Tbs of butter until heat over medium heat. Gently place 2 filets skin side down and cook 2 minutes or until skin is nice and crispy. Gently flip the filets and cook them another two minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Set aside and continue to cook the fish in batches, adding more butter and oil each time.
When the fish is all cooked, add the artichokes and morels back to the pan and heat them over medium heat. Add the white wine, and let it cook off for about 2 minutes remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter and the fresh chives. Swirl the pan to incorporate the butter into the sauce and vegetables with it separating.
Place one filet on each plate (skin side up), and gently spoon some of the morels and artichokes over the fish. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the vegetables and fish before serving.