Five-Star Cuisine on a Yacht

Five-Star Cuisine on a Yacht




For patrons who frequent Manhattan’s finest restaurants, five-star cuisine is now obtainable on private yacht charters at a comparable price. With resumes rivaling many top chefs, Robert Stecker and Jorge Feliciano of Culinary Visions Catering, based in Long Island, New York, are serving an expanding clientele on the water including celebrities, Fortune 500 executives, politicians and heads of state. Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Donald Trump and Steven Spielberg have all sampled their fare.

Mr. Stecker and Mr. Feliciano began their exploration of non-traditional dining aboard the charter yacht Lexington in downtown Manhattan during the post 9/11 business recovery. They now offer French/American cuisine on over 30 luxury yachts obtainable by Prestige Yacht Charters. The ships depart from marinas and clubs throughout the New York Metro area.

Creative gourmet selections are influenced by the seasons because the chefs hand select each ingredient. They prefer elements such as venison, pomegranate and black truffles in the winter; sea bass, cherries and morels in spring; lobster, peaches and watercress in summer; and wild-game birds, butternut squash and white truffles in the fall. The chefs often present their preparations personally on beautifully arranged plates.

The following specialties come highly recommended: butter-poached Maine lobster with roasted wild mushrooms, gnocchi and cucumber blossoms; honey-glazed duck with fig, daikon radish and black currant; and Japanese Kobe filet with seared foie gras, spinach and Pinot Noir sauce.

The recipe for one of their identifying characteristics dishes, “Crisp Paupiette of Sea Bass with Braised Leeks,” is included below.

After eating their fill, and perhaps enjoying tableside dessert presentations for crème brulée or cherry jubilee, diners can walk off their the meal by strolling along the decks, enjoy panoramic vistas, or just relax under the stars listening to the water gently lapping against the hull. The length of the complete experience is the same as top restaurants, about three hours.

The owner of Prestige Yacht Charters, David Hackert, lets diners choose from a wide variety of “great number” ships by viewing interior and exterior profiles on his company’s website. All yachts are climate controlled with enclosed dining areas in case of inclement weather.

Crisp Paupiette of Sea Bass with Braised Leeks and Pinot Noir Reduction

elements (yields 4 servings)

For the Paupiette of Sea Bass:

o 4 sea bass fillets, 7 ounces each, skinless, bones set aside for the sauce

o Salt and recently ground black pepper

o 3 sprigs of fresh thyme: 1 sprig leaf chopped and 2 sprigs halved for garnish

o 2 very large baking potatoes, peeled

o 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Leeks:

o 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

o 2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced

o Salt and recently ground black pepper

For the Sauce:

o 1 tablespoon additional-virgin olive oil, for cooking

o 1/2 cup peeled and chopped shallots

o 1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms, caps only

o 1/2 sprig fresh thyme

o 1 cup unsalted chicken stock

o 1 bottle (750 ml) of Pinot Noir or similar red cooking wine

o 1 tablespoon heavy cream

o 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

o Pinch of sugar

o Salt and recently ground black pepper

o 1 tablespoon minced chives

Preparation

For the Paupiette of Sea Bass:

Make each fillet as rectangular as possible (about 5 inches by 2 inches) by trimming off rough edges with a sharp knife. Salt and pepper the fillets, and sprinkle them with a teaspoon of chopped thyme.

Using a knife, shape each potato lengthwise by cutting off the rounded outer flesh to form 4 rectangular slices (do not cut off the tips of the potatoes). Using a vegetable slicer or mandolin, cut each potato lengthwise into very thin, long slices. Each potato should provide about 16 slices (8 slices are needed to wrap 1 fish fillet). Do not rinse the potato slices as their starch will help the wrapped slices stick together. Toss the potato slices in 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and add a pinch of salt.

Place a 10-inch square piece of parchment paper on the counter. Choose 8 potato slices of approximately the same length. Place a fillet of fish horizontally at the top of the parchment paper so you can match the length of the potato wrap to the length of the fish. Place the first slice of potato perpendicular to the fish, starting on the left side. Place a second slice sharing characteristics the first one by about 3/8 inch from the left edge. Continue sharing characteristics the potato slices until you have covered an area equal to the length of the fillet of fish.

Center the fish horizontally in the middle of the potato wrap, and fold the edges of the potatoes over the fish to enclose it thoroughly. Repeat the same course of action for the remaining fillets and refrigerate.

For the Leeks:

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and sweat until soft, about 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm on the side.

For the Sauce:

Heat the oil in a pot over high heat. Add the preserved sea bass bones, shallots, mushrooms and thyme sprigs, and roast for 8 to 10 minutes while stirring often. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and cook until completely reduced.

Add Pinot Noir, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Remove and discard the fish bones with a mesh skimmer. Reduce the sauce to 2 tablespoons. Add heavy cream, stir and bring to a boil over low heat. Whip in butter, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Strain the sauce with a fine mesh strainer, and keep warm on the side. (If the sauce is too thick, add a little water to thin it.)

To cook the paupiette of sea bass, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick pan over high heat. Add the paupiettes of sea bass, and sauté until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. If the fish is very thick, finish cooking in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.

Presentation

Place a bed of leeks in the middle of 4 warm serving plates, and ladle the sauce around the leeks (about 2 tablespoons per plate). Place a paupiette of sea bass on top of the leeks, and garnish with 1/2 sprig of thyme. Sprinkle the plate with the minced chives.




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