How to make Crosley’s chef Joachim Hayward’s grilled sea bream with crispy shallots
In his cooking, Crosley’s chef Joachim Hayward reflects both his West Coast upbringing and his training in the kitchens of Europe—as well as Toronto’s very own Brothers Food and Wine (RIP). Even when he’s firing up the barbecue at home, everything is just a little bit fancy.
When he’s in the mood for fish, he eschews finicky filets for whole, head-on fish accented with deceptively simple sauces—this one’s a Grenobloise—that can be whipped up while the fish cooks. Sea bream is one of his mainstays for its dense, sweet flesh and its grillability. “Even if you leave it on the grill for a minute or two too long, it’ll still be moist.”
1 whole, head-on sea bream, cleaned and gutted
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 bunch medium-thick green asparagus
4 medium shallots; two finely diced and two sliced into thin rings
2 tbsp brined capers, drained and chopped
1 small bunch Italian parsley, picked and roughly chopped
1 small bunch dill, picked and roughly chopped
7 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
Olive oil, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Note: if you can’t find sea bream, sea bass or white snapper will work just as well.
Make ahead: to prepare the crispy shallots, place the shallot rings into a small saucepan. Cover with olive oil and put over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper-towel-lined plate. Season with salt.
1. Using a paper towel, pat the fish to remove excess moisture. Then, use 1 tbsp of olive oil to lightly oil the fish all over, inside and out. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
2. Preheat a gas grill to 400°F. For charcoal, get briquettes to a white ember stage.
3. While the grill heats, trim the bottom of the asparagus spears and toss with 1 tsp of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt.
4. Lay the fish horizontally across the grill and leave undisturbed for about 4 minutes.
5. While the fish cooks, lay asparagus across the other side of the grill. Using a pair of tongs, roll them around to ensure even charring while cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely coloured yet still slightly firm. Rest on a cutting board.
6. Check the fish by gently lifting the tail with tongs or an offset spatula. Once the skin is no longer sticking, flip the fish over and continue cooking for another four minutes.
7. Place a small saucepan on the grill until very hot. Add the diced butter and constantly whisk to evenly distribute the browning milk solids. Once browned, remove from the heat and add the finely diced shallots, capers, chopped herbs, grated lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
8. Remove the fish when an instant-read thermometer reaches 110°F, and place onto a serving platter.
9. Cut the asparagus into small coins, and spoon them along with the herb butter on and around the fish. Garnish with the crispy shallots.