Fresh artichokes braised in a fragrant broth of wine, stock, and olive oil are a traditional Provençal dish called barigoule. Teamed with black bass, it makes for a flavorful and memorable dish.
Black Bass with Artichokes à la Barigoule
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice; more to taste
- 8 large fresh artichokes (about 5 lb.)
- 12 small fresh baby artichokes (about 2 lb.)
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 4-3/4 cups)
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 2 cups)
- 4 medium carrots, thinly sliced diagonally (about 2 cups)
- 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced (about 1-1/2 cups), leaves reserved for garnish
- 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 cups light-colored vegetable stock
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 8 5-oz. skin-on black or sea bass or salmon fillets
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 3 Tbs. grapeseed or canola oil; more as needed
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Fill a large bowl with 8 cups of cold water and 1/2 cup of the lemon juice. Clean, peel, and trim the large artichokes, removing all leaves, the choke, and the stems, leaving only the bottoms. Add to the acidulated water. Trim the baby artichokes by snapping off the dark green outer leaves until only the pale, tender inner leaves remain. Cut off the top 1/4 inch of the artichokes. Trim the stem end and any dark parts around the bottom, quarter, and add to the acidulated water.
- Transfer the artichoke bottoms to a medium saucepan, and cover completely with cold water. Add 3 Tbs. lemon juice and 2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the artichoke bottoms, coarsely chop, and transfer to a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 3 Tbs. water, 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Purée, adding more water 1 Tbs. at a time, if necessary, until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt and lemon. Cover and keep warm.
- In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Drain the baby artichokes, pat dry with paper towels, and add to the pot with 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes start to soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, fennel, carrots, celery, garlic, stock, and white wine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 20 minutes.
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Generously season both sides with salt and white pepper. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large nonstick skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat until shimmering. Transfer 4 pieces of the fish to the skillet skin side down, and cook, undisturbed, until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, flip the fish over, and continue to cook until done to your liking, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add more grapeseed oil to the pan, if necessary, and cook the remaining fish.
- Divide the artichoke purée among shallow bowls, top generously with the some of the barigoule, and a piece of fish, skin side up. Dust with a few grinds of white pepper, garnish with the reserved celery leaves, and serve with lemon wedges.