Hamachi with Grapefruit-Basil Salad


¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon canola oil or extra light olive oil
4 hamachi (white) skinless fillets, ¾ pound each
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1 grapefruit, rind removed, flesh segmented and finely diced
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or other fine sea salt
Several pinches piment d’Espelette (a ground Basque chili pepper) or hot paprika or chili powder
2 tablespoons micro celery (or minced celery)


Serves 4

In a small bowl, combine the basil with ¼ cup canola oil. Use a fork or small whisk to blend the mixture until some, but not all, of the basil is puréed. Set the basil oil aside to rest.

Generously season the hamachi with salt and pepper. In a nonstick pan over high heat, sear the hamachi in ½ tablespoon of canola oil until golden brown, 12 to 15 seconds per side. The inside will be rare. Immediately remove the fillets from the pan. Just before serving, cut each fillet into 4 equal pieces, slicing against the grain.

Cut the avocado (with rind intact) into quarters, discarding the pit. Slice each quarter diagonally into thin strips. Taking care not to mash them, separate the avocado strips from the rind, and fan out the slices in a single layer on a plate. Sprinkle with lime juice, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the grapefruit, basil oil and pine nuts. Gently mix, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set the grapefruit-basil salad aside.

To serve: :

Arrange 4 hamachi slices flat on the right side of a plate. Line up a quarter of the avocado slices to the left of the fish. Sprinkle ¼ tablespoon fleur de sel and a pinch of piment d’Espelette over the avocado, and garnish the fish with ½ tablespoon of micro celery. Spoon a quarter of the grapefruit-basil salad on top of the hamachi. Repeat with the remaining plates, and serve.