Grilled Red Sea Bream with Crunchy Shredded Potatoes; Delightful Textures, Aromas for Festive Occasions

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Grilled red sea bream with crunchy shredded potatoes

French cuisine chef Shinsuke Ishii shares his recipe for grilled red sea bream wrapped in crunchy hashed potatoes. Giving the shredded potatoes a rounded shape adds fun to the browning process. It is an ideal recipe for special occasions.

In France, there is a traditional dish called loup en croute, which involves wrapping sea bass in a large pie crust and is typically served on a large platter at parties. At his restaurant, Ishii serves this dish with a modern twist.

In the recipe shared here, instead of pie crust, he uses more readily available potatoes to wrap seasonal red sea bream, making the dish easier to cook. Dishes featuring fish, such as cod, wrapped in potatoes are commonly found on the menu at bistros in France. Wrapping fish in potatoes before cooking helps the fish retain moisture. Furthermore, Ishii said, “Potatoes go exceptionally well with fish.”

First off, toss shredded potatoes and melting butter in a frying pan, spreading them out. Place a fish fillet in the center and then cover it with the potatoes, enveloping it completely. Round off the edges with a rubber spatula while giving it a good sear. A golden-brown color is fine, but a darker, well-browned finish lets you enjoy the crispy char that is considered more in keeping with the French style, according to Ishii.

“Flipping it over might require some courage the first time, but you could also try just cooking potatoes first to practice,” Ishii said.

At Ishii’s restaurant, the dish is usually served with a warm, mayonnaise-like sauce called bearnaise sauce. However, in this recipe, we will simplify it by serving the dish with a sauce made by mixing mayonnaise with chopped vegetables. The well-grilled potatoes have a crunchy texture, a deep charred aroma and a slight bitterness, which blends with the creaminess of the sauce in your mouth.

The potatoes also have a pleasant buttery aroma. The sea bream, encased in potatoes, is fluffy and delicately sweet. This recipe will make you want to try this technique with other types of fish besides red sea bream.

Cooking with taiyaki maker

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A pastry that resembles a taiyaki fish- shaped waffle

A specialty at Ishii’s restaurant is a pastry that resembles taiyaki fish-shaped waffles, which Ishii says has been well-received by his customers. He bought an electric cooker capable of making hot sandwiches and waffles ten years ago, and he uses a taiyaki mold with it to cook the pastries. He cooks one fish-shaped pastry at a time, filling them with red sea bream, sea bass, or other ingredients. In the past, he has served his customers “Apple Tai [yaki],” which contains an apple filling. “It’s important to express your wit in cooking,” Ishii said.

Grilled red sea bream with crunchy shredded potatoes

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 80 grams red sea bream fillets, skinless
  • 200 grams potatoes
  • 3 grams garlic
  • 1 gram parsley
  • 50 grams butter
  • White pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • (For the sauce)
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 grams onion
  • Parsley, to taste
  • 20 grams mayonnaise
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste

  • Directions:

    1. To make the sauce, quarter cherry tomatoes and place them in a microwave-safe container. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave at 600W for 1 minute. Let them cool slightly. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, finely chopped onion, parsley, 20 grams of mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and sugar — all to taste — and mix well.

    2. Peel potatoes and julienne them into 2 millimeters strips. Melt butter in a frying pan and toss the potatoes in it.

    3. Add 3 grams of salt, as well as white pepper, minced garlic and chopped parsley to the potato mixture from Step 2.

    4. Make a few cuts in the center of the sea bream fillet to butterfly it open and flatten to about 1 centimeter thickness. Season one side thoroughly with salt and pepper.

    5. Place half of the potato mixture from Step 3 in a small frying pan about 18 centimeters in diameter and place the seasoned fillets from Step 4 in the center.

    6. Cover the fish with the remaining potato mixture from Step 3 and shape it to be circular and about 13 centimeters in diameter using a rubber spatula.

    7. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil around the mixture from Step 6 in the pan and heat it. After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for about 5 more minutes.

    8. Flip the mixture, cover with a lid, and cook for another 5 minutes. Then, cook uncovered for about 5 more minutes until the potato turns golden brown. Blot off any excess oil with a paper towel.

    9. Serve it on a plate with the sauce made in Step 1, optionally garnished with mixed greens.