Slick Move: Fish Brushed with Walnut Oil at L’Espalier


Illustration by Steven Stankiewicz

The fish course at a recent L’Espalier lunch was everything you’d expect: pedigreed sourcing (imported lubina), seasonal garnishes, elegantly deployed echoes of the dominant aquatic motif (oyster-spinach emulsion, plankton fumet). But the nuanced complexity of the delicate fillet itself stumped me. Turns out, Frank McClelland coaxes the velvety suppleness and umami depth from the fish by brushing the skin liberally with walnut oil just before serving. I’ll be trying it soon at home with seared halibut.