Sea bream is one such fish that can handle a charcoal grill while making for a delicious meal. Firm enough to endure grilling, sea bream can be enjoyed in many ways, including the following recipe for "Grilled Bream with Wild Mushrooms" from Tony Mantuano's "The Spiaggia Cookbook" (Chronicle Books).
Grilled Bream with Wild Mushrooms
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 to 3 ounces wild mushrooms, such as Trumpet Royale, Honshimegi, and Cinnamon Cap, or chanterelles, morels, oysters, or porcini, brushed clean and sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or prepared broth
4 skin-on bream fillets, 6 ounces each
1/2 ounce julienned fresh black truffle
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Black Truffle Potato Puree (see box) for serving
Small fennel fronds for garnish (optional)
Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to 400 F.
In a saute pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the wine, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook to reduce for 2 minutes. Add the stock and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons butter to thicken the sauce slightly. Set aside.
Brush the fish on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish on the grill, skin side up, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook until opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove from the grill and flip skin side up. Peel away the skin.
To serve, divide the potato puree among the centers of 4 warmed plates. Spoon the mushrooms around the plates, reserving the pan sauce. Place a fish fillet, with the grill marks up, on top of the potatoes and drizzle the butter sauce on top of the fish and around the plates. Drizzle each serving with olive oil. Garnish with fennel fronds, if using.
SIDEBAR: Basic Potato Puree
Makes about 4 cups
11/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Place over low heat until all excess water is gone, 2 to 3 minutes. Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a warmed bowl or transfer to the bowl and mash by hand with a potato masher. Fold in the butter and cream.
To make Black Truffle Puree, prepare the basic puree, then fold in 3 tablespoons black truffle paste and 11/2 teaspoons white truffle oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.