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Palate Persuasion

Chef John Bolderson of Jackson Restaurant mixes the savory and the sweet.

Pancetta-seared Puppy Drum
with Fresh Louisiana Strawberries, Gorgonzola and Pignoli over
Wilted Arugula

2 3-ounce Puppy Drum Filets
1/4 pound diced pancetta
2-3 fresh, large Louisiana strawberries
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon toasted pignoli
1 1/2 teaspoon good quality
   strawberry preserves
1/4 cup vodka
4 cups arugula
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 fresh lemon
2 Tablespoons dry white wine   
1-inch irregular chunk Gorgonzola
salt and pepper

Sprinkle sugar over cut strawberries; set aside to allow them to create their own juice.

Render fat from pancetta by sautéing in frying pan over medium heat. Remove pancetta, saving for sauce, leaving about 1 Tablespoon drippings.

Salt and pepper fish pieces, then brown quickly over medium-high heat in used pan about 1-2 minutes each side. Remove fish and most of fat, leaving bits that cling to the pan.

In same pan, heat strawberry preserves, then add cut berries until heated through. Add vodka and burn off alcohol. Incorporate toasted pignoli and browned pancetta pieces. Turn off heat and let stand.

In new frying pan, coat pan with olive oil, then sauté garlic until golden. Add arugula, tossing until wilted.  Squeeze juice from lemon and add to pan with 2 Tablespoons wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.

To serve, pile warm arugula in center of plate, overlap fish filets on top and pour sauce over all, leaving a stream of sauce around edges of plate for eye appeal. Place Gorgonzola on top, torch cheese and serve immediately. Serves 1

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