Now is the time, my friends . . . the dog days still upon us, the markets still teaming with local produce, the fish season on the coasts still in full swing. I make the vegetables ahead of time, and the sauce can also be made ahead and kept in a thermos (dinner party trick of the day!) if you are cooking for a crowd. Youâ??ll love to make this bass recipe again and again once you go through the recipe the first time.
For this dish, I look to use wild striped bass, a full-flavored, white, flakey fish that is sturdy enough to stand up to the sauce and the vegetables, but still relatively light enough to qualify as a summertime treat. The sauce is worth the work, and these days, who doesnâ??t yearn for a sturdy, creamy shellfish jus after three months of olive oil drizzles and lemon juice spritzes?
Pan Seared Bass on Provencale-Style Vegetables with Shrimp Sauce
4 8-oz. boneless, skin-on filets of line-caught striped bass or sea bass
1 c. Wondra flour
3 T. butter, clarified works best
Sea salt and white pepper for seasoning
Score the skin and season fish aggressively, on the skin side. Dredge fish in the flour. Knock off any excess.
Preheat pan over medium heat, adding the butter, and sautÃ© the fish, cooking mostly skin-side down, turning to finish the fish. Do not overcook, but this fish should not be served medium rare! Plate the fish on top of spoonfuls of the vegetables, drizzling the sauce around the fish. Serves 4.
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 minced anchovies
4 basil leaves, julienned
2 minced shallots
1/4 c. nicoise olives
1/2 c. finely diced green zuchinni
1/2 c. yellow squash, diced fine
1 c. finely diced eggplant
2 T. minced parsley
1 clove minced garlic
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. white wine
Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, eggplant, and shallots and cook for several minutes to cook through.
Add the anchovies and cook for another minute.
Add the zuchinni, squash, parsley, basil, and olives. Add the wine and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the tomato. Saute for another minute or so, then pull from heat, stirring. Season and serve warm under the fish.
1/4 c. brandy
2 T. Pernod
3 c. shellfish stock or fish stock (made from the bones of the bass,
1 lb. fresh shrimp in the shell, chopped coarsely, shells and all . . . I use
ocean-caught Ecuadorean or Mexican shrimp.
1 T. tomato paste
2 sprigs tarragon
1 minced shallot
1 minced carrot
1 rib minced celery
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. heavy cream
Place a large saute pan over high heat. Add the oil and, when itâ??s rippling, add the shrimp. Toss, scorching the shells. Toss-in the tomato paste, tarragon, and vegetables. When cooked down and aromatic, add the brandy and Pernod, then cook for a minute or so. Add the stock and simmer, covered, for 15â??20 minutes.
Remove cover and reduce by two-thirds at a simmer. Strain, pressing down on the solids. Add the cream. Discard solids. Simmer until sauce consistency is reached.
Season with sea salt, white pepper, and a touch of lemon. Foam the sauce, if you like, before serving, drizzling the sauce around the fish and vegetables.