Braised bream fillet with celery root puree

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”  Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright

Luciano made a very good point – it is an amazing thing how we have to eat regularly to stay alive and to be in the shape we want to. And yet – eating is beyond just that! It has grown to be a certain experience! The same like people searching for specific restaurants, cuisines, recipes – finding something they have not experienced before, as it is called nowadays – educating your palette! Food is not just food any more…

So meet the bream…

Until now I considered it to be a very regular fish – always there in the store in the fish tank, always available fresh and for some reason – hasn’t caught much of my attention till now. One reason – it does contain a lot of bones. Other than that – can’t think of any reason to tell you honestly!

Luckily Dad has brought home a fresh one, so the choice of the fish for the weekend meal was set. Filleting it was “fun” but definitely worth it. I could have been more patient in removing all of the bones out with the tweezers, but I was also very impatient in getting to the celery root puree.
I had eaten it recently in one restaurant – had no idea what I was having at the time. I could tell it was halibut on top of some baby-food looking puree, but it was sooooooo good, I got the courage to go and ask the chef! And just a few days past – I’m making it.

Serves 3-4:
* 1,5 kg bream
* 0,5 kg celery root
* 4 tomatoes
* Half a cup of heavy cream
* 1 cup water
* 4 tablespoons softened butter
* 1 head of garlic
* A few tablespoons of capers
* Olive oil
* Provence herbs, mustard seeds, salt, fresh ground pepper

The most time consuming part was filleting the fish. Once it was done, the rest was fairly quick. When the fillets were done, I seasoned them lightly with salt and set aside for the time I was preparing the puree.

The celery root must be pealed and cut into 1 cm dice. Heat up the pan and melt a few tablespoons of butter, add the celery and cook for a few minutes. Then add the heavy cream and the water, a pinch of salt to taste, cover and bring to boil – around 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook on lower heat for another 10-15 minutes until the celery is soft and tender. Puree it with the blender, simmer a few more minutes, then cover and keep warm.

Heat up some olive oil in the pan, add the remaining butter, some mustard seeds and a few gloves of chopped garlic. When the garlic gets soft (don’t let it brown), add the fish fillets, sprinkle some provence herbs and some salt (don’t overdo if salted after filleting the fish), cover and cook for 10-15 minutes over moderate heat.

In the meantime, in another skillet, heat up some olive oil, throw in a few whole garlic cloves and add the whole tomatoes with the stems removed, cover and cook until soft. You can tell they are done, when the skin is all wrinkled and can be removed easily.

Once the tomatoes are done, start plating. Spread the celery puree on the plate, top it with fish and serve with the whole tomato. For some acidity, I added a bit of capers on the side and squeezed a bit of fresh lemon juice over the fish. Before serving added some fresh ground pepper.

Since this whole dish was lead by the aim to make that amazingly tasting celery root puree, I was very happy with the way everything turned out. Yet the best compliment at the table was from my Dad – “I could as well skip the fish if the puree is on the plate”. That WAS music to my ears and inspiration to serve something as good next time!

Bon appétit!

2 thoughts on “Braised bream fillet with celery root puree

  1. OMG !!! The taste of celery puree was something out of this world…From now on celery root is No1 on my shopping list…Never ever had I imagined before that simple – truly simple- stuff like celery could make such a profound impression on my taste live and learn:-)))


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