Otium's Sea Bass with Chowder and Belgian Endive

I had this dish at Otium and could easily had a second one except we had ordered so much food.  

Serves 4


2 cups chopped floury potatoes such as Yukon Gold  

1 cup chopped onion

Half a small bulb fennel, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

3 cups fish or chicken stock

1 cup milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Belgian Endive:
2 tbsp clarified butter or olive oil

1 tsp sugar

4 small Belgian endive, cut in half lengthwise

1 tbsp orange juice

1 tbsp fish or chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 4-oz (125 g) fillets Mediterranean sea bass on the skin

2 tbsp olive oil

2 pieces of cooked bacon, finely chopped

Add potato, onion, fennel and thyme to soup pot. Add stock and milk and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain the broth and reserve. Place vegetables in a food processor or use a stick blender. Add enough broth to blend into a thick puree. Slowly add more broth until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Season well with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Heat clarified butter in skillet . Sprinkle in sugar and lay Belgian endive cut side down into pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until a deep brown. Turn over and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Add orange juice and stock. Gently simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce to a glaze. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve until needed

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Heat oil in oven proof skillet over medium high heat and add fish skin side down. Fry until skin is brown, about 3 minutes, then transfer pan to oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Reheat chowder and Belgian endive.

If you have a frother, froth chowder. Spoon chowder into four wide soup plates. Top with fish and add two pieces endive per person. Scatter with bacon and dot with any juices left in the endive pan.