Tuesday, August 10, 2010

sea bass with balsamic glaze

Sorry, no pictures. I made it late last night, and thought I'd photograph the leftovers today, but there were no leftovers. Yup, that good.

This recipe by Brita at food52 for mozzarella with plums in balsamic glaze had been on my mind for quite a while. Actually, it was the plums-in-balsamic-glaze part. I didn't want to use it on mozzarella, because I eat enough mozzarella as it is. Last night, it dawned on me that it would be great with sea bass. Oh my. I don't think I've eaten anything this good for a long, long time. So here it goes.

  • onion (1 medium)
  • fennel (2 small stalks, or one large)
  • fresno pepper (or other hot pepper, like jalapeño)
  • fresh ginger
  • sea bass fillet (I had two fillets, half a pound each) 
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar (1 1/2 c)
  • pluot (1 large)
the bed:
Cut the onion into thin slices, and saute in olive oil for a few minutes.
Cut the fennel into thin slices.
Finely mince the fresno pepper after taking the seeds and membranes out.
Grate the fresh ginger.
Add the fennel, the pepper, and the ginger to the onions, and continue to saute.
Season with salt.

the fish:
Season the fillets with salt and pepper.
Lay them on the bed of vegetables.
Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.
Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan.
Cover and steam until done.

the balsamic glazed pluot:
Pour one and a half cups of balsamic vinegar into a small pot.
Boil it down gently until until it is very thick.
Cut a large pluot into sections.
Put them in the glaze, and make sure they are well-coated.
Cook another couple of minutes.
Add a pinch of salt.

the assembly:
Plate the fish skin side down on its bed.
Place the glazed pluots around it.
Pour the rest of the glaze on the fish.

I had bought two small fillets of sea bass from the tail end. I prefer this, because the fillet is even in thickness, and I foolishly thought one fillet would be enough for one person. Well, it is enough, but that doesn't mean one person will eat one fillet.

My main method of cooking fish has been pan searing for as long as I remember. But recently, I have become a fan of steaming. I've had perfect results every time.

The balsamic glaze is strong and assertive. You need enough fennel and ginger to stand up to it.

I thought the glaze needed that pinch of salt to balance the acidity and the sweetness.

I think the glaze would be great as a sauce for the fish, even without the plums. But I do like fruits in main dishes.

Why pluots? Because at WF, the plums looked pathetic and the pluots looked good. They tasted good too, unlike other pluots I've tried. The pluot also retained its texture very well. No mush.

Finally, a note on unventing. 'Unventing' is a knitting term made up by Elizabeth Zimmerman. You unvent something when you come up with it on your own, but you can't call it 'inventing', because surely, somebody else must have done it before you, somewhere, sometime. When you think of the number of hours spent in the kitchen by millions of people every day, chances are even higher than in knitting that you're not the first one who had this brilliant thought. Unless you just made cockscomb foam or something. So this morning I googled 'fish with balsamic glaze', and got many hits. Still, the joy was in the eating, not in the pride of inventing.

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