Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pan Sauteed Wild Striped Bass with Fennel Tomato Fondue

We’re busy. All of us. Time is of the essence. So is good food. So taking time to put something divine on the table every night, to some people, may not be important. But there are people whose lives revolve around what we are going to have for the next meal.
I’m one of them. I have old stand-by meals that I’ll do in a pinch if I have to. Usually, I’ll look in the freezer, see what’s shakin’ in there and pick out what I want to do.
Then I go to the cookbooks. And stand in front waiting for inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go to the internet and surf around the food blogs and websites. The muse strikes and the games begin.
Whole Foods opened in my neighborhood last week. Jazz bands in a grocery store. Unbelievable. Anyway…a trip produced some fresh wild striped bass, something I had never cooked before. Several recipes later..thank you Perla Meyers and Jennifer Hess, I had come up with something. And it was really quite good and very easy. I’m in a major fennel phase. I love it roasted with olive oil and garlic in the oven. I love it in tuna salad with olive oil and capers and roasted red peppers and green olives. If it’s available, I may use half fennel and half celery when celery is called for in a recipe. So give this recipe a whirl and see what you think. It may change the way you eat fish. By the way, don't try to open a bottle of wine and toast bread at the same time. It's a gift to be able to do both!

Pan Sauteed Wild Striped Bass with Fennel and Tomato Fondue

1-1.5 pound wild striped bass fillet, skin on
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 large sweet yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 big fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
4-6 large flat anchovies, drained and minced
1.5 tsp fennel seed, slightly crushed
1-16 ounce can organic diced tomatoes, don’t drain
Big pinch Turkish oregano
Big pinch thyme leaves
Heat 2 tbs olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and onion and saute til soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, fennel seeds and anchovies and cook til anchovies dissolve. Add tomatoes and their juice and allow to cook down a bit. If too thick, add a bit more tomato juice. Reduce heat to low and let simmer while you do the bass. Season to taste.
Heat a cast iron skillet with two more tbs or so olive oil over medium high heat. Don’t allow to smoke. Mix a bit of flour, black pepper and coarse salt and dredge the fillet on both sides. Shake off as much flour as you can. Put in pan, skin side down and cook til golden brown and flip. Cook til done about five to seven minutes total unless it is very thick. You will be the best judge as to when it’s cooked.
Plate: Use pasta bowls to serve. Put a good sized scoop of the fennel tomato fondue in bottom, and a serving of the bass on top. Pull leaves from fresh Italian parsley and sprinkle on top. Serve with Italian bread, sliced on an angle and toasted.
Serves 3.


1 comment:

claudia said...

oh excellent! that looks very jennifer to me... i would love love this dish. my guy isn't a fish guy. but i'm going to start making it more just for me.