I’ve been reading the book Four Fish (subtitled “The Future of the Last Wild Food”) by Paul Greenberg, which gives a history of salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna and of course details the environmental aspect of eating, fishing and farming all of them. As someone who loves fish and the ocean, I actually find it riveting. It really makes me wish I stayed an extra quarter to get that minor in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Perhaps that teeny credential would have come in handy now as I contemplate switching careers in the veeery long term future. I just finished reading the section on sea bass, and the author describes the delicate, white, tender flaky meat of sea bass to explain why it’s so popular. Did you know sea bass has many names, which if you live in New York City, you most likely have seen: branzino, loup de mer, bar, spigola. My mouth immediately began to water, and I continued reading as he details the highly complicated human engineering that goes on in the farming of sea bass, as well as the accompanying pollution and disease. He achieved his intent of making me feel guilty for wanting sea bass. But, then in the last few pages of the chapter, he mentioned a new kind of sea bass whose natural biology is conducive to being farmed, and therefore it’s sustainable and not detrimental to the environment — that sea bass is called Barramundi! Naturally, this would be my next meal.
I headed over to the Lobster Place, where I knew for sure they must have this Barramundi. Sure enough, they even had Barramundi from the same “farm” in Turner Falls, MA where the author had done his research. I had intended to buy a filet or two, but the whole fish was 1/2 the price (per pound), so I got that instead. The entire fish wouldn’t fit in the pan, so I tried and then Noah succeeded in chopping off the fish heads (sorry to you sensitive readers out there, but this is just how your food gets to the plate).
I proceeded then to adapt this recipe for Barramundi. The recipe has you make a sweet potato puree and brussel sprout chips (from each leaf), but I opted for the easier task of simply chopping and roasting them together. I also made the vinaigrette called for in the recipe, but I think the fish tastes great simply just pan fried with salt and pepper. So, I saved the vinaigrette for a future salad. Also, during this adventure, I learned how to beautifully pan fry a whole fish – so easy and so delicious! The skin is so yummy and crisp.
Pan Fried Barramundi
2 barramundi fish, cleaned (or 4 5-6 oz filets)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts
salt + pepper
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes. Cut brussel sprouts in halves. Quarter and slice sweet potato into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine vegetables in baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vingegar, salt, pepper, dried rosemary and thyme. Mix to combine. Arrange brussel sprouts with cut side down. Bake in oven for 30-35 mins.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think the tomatoes we received this week are HEIRLOOM tomatoes! For lunch yesterday I made a Panzanella salad and I combined 3 different recipes I found off of epicurious and allrecipes. Panzanella salad is an Italian salad where instead of greens, there is crispy, seasoned pieces of Italian bread. I first had it when my principal made it for one of our lunch meetings and it was pret-ty amazing.
I walked over to Chelsea Market and laid down $4.75 for an organic rustic Italian loaf, but I think a regular ciabatta loaf or baguette would work just fine too. But, that bread was really yummy! This salad was a bit more work than a regular salad, since you grill (or in my case brown in a pan) the squash and bake the bread pieces, but it was so tasty, it was worth waiting until 4 PM to eat my lunch! I also quickly sauteed some chicken in the blackened squash pan and added it to the salad for some extra protein in my lunch.
2 medium summer squash, sliced into 1.5 inch strips
1/2 walla walla onion, sliced
3 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 sweet peppers, sliced
1 rustic Italian loaf or Ciabatta loaf, cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Drizzle squash strips with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on each side. Set aside on paper-toweled plate.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, toss bread pieces with 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Lay bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. Cut grilled squash strips into 1 inch pieces. Toss onions, tomatoes and peppers together in bowl. Add the grilled squash pieces and the bread pieces.*
4. Mix the 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette.
*If you aren’t going to eat the entire salad right away, I would keep the grilled squash and bread pieces separate until just before serving, and also wait to dress the salad.
My best friend Angela is visiting this week and today we stopped at Chelsea Market for groceries and then made a home-cooked family dinner. The following is reposted from her blog:
our last stop of the day was at chelsea market to pick up some fresh fish + veggies to cook dinner at home. peter and i picked out some tilefish and pollock (2 kinds of white fish we have never had before) for noah and cathy to cook for all of us. =) we put together a salad, and cathy also made some amazing roasted potatoes! we’ve been drinking a lot of lemon + mint water to keep cool. now it’s time to play scrabble!
Yesterday morning I suddenly was inspired to make a sandwich with some artisan bread, topped with the best vegetables and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So here is my sandwich made with a freshly baked french baguette (from Wholefoods), topped with arugula, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes and sauteed chicken, then drizzled with olive oil & vinegar. Totally satisfied my craving.
And then, since we had lots of lemons and lots of mint, I made mint lemonade. 🙂
For Friday night’s dinner, I made the balsamic glazed salmon you see above. It was decent, pretty good, but nothing too exciting. I was kind of disappointed; the recipe had a lot of rave reviews so I was expecting greatness. I think perhaps our dijon mustard (Annie’s Organic brand) has a very distinct taste which might have thrown things off. Perhaps I’ll try again once we have a new jar. I also think the recipe would be good with an addition of some fresh squeezed lemon juice.