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.
We are cooking up a storm today! Due to being prego (we’re about 12 weeks in now!), I kind of lost the desire and inspiration to prepare food so I haven’t cooked hardly at all for the past few weeks. I think I’m finally past that stage and (hopefully) I’m back!
Tonight, I welcomed the cool, October weather with my favorite roasted brussel sprouts (thanks again to Lil for this recipe, which I’ve used numerous times) and white-wine scallop pasta. Both excellent and comforting dishes. I’ve made these brussel sprouts for many gatherings and they are always loved by lots. People who don’t even like brussel sprouts have asked me for the recipe – it’s that good. I think, if you love cabbage like I do, you’ll like these. The scallop pasta is another favorite of Noah and mine. Aside from obtaining the scallops, both dishes are actually amazingly easy to prepare.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Pecans
2 lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 c pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss all the ingredients together. Turn the brussel sprouts cut-side down. Toast until golden and tender, 20-25 mins.
Scallops With White Wine Sauce
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T minced shallot or red onion
1/2 c white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c butter
1 lb sea scallops
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the garlic and then the onions.
2. Pour in the white wine and lemon juice. Cook and stir until most of the liquid has been reduced. Stir in the butter until melted.
3. Cook the dry scallops in the butter sauce until the center is opaque (about 2 mins on each side), making sure not to overcook the scallops.
4. Remove pan from heat and remove scallops from sauce. Set aside.
5. Toss 1/2 lb of pasta (I used linguine) with the wine-butter sauce and the chopped parsley. Serve and top with scallops.
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!
Noah made dinner last week. We tried our 2nd attempt at using panko, which we realized we are not fans of (or perhaps it’s the brand we bought). But we did make excellent roasted potatoes seasoned with balsamic vinegar, rosemary, olive oil and whole peppercorns. Yum.
What a delightful meal! I’ve been getting bored of our usual baked or fried fish recipes, so I tried something new today, and was pleasantly surprised! I found a baked honey mustard salmon breaded with chopped pecans recipe and now have something new to add to our stock of meals. I used 2 tbsp of yellow mustard and 1 of dijon mustard. Also, I think you could substitute other nuts (almonds or walnuts) for the pecans.
I also made some roasted potatoes (mix the potatoes with olive oil, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and a little balsamic vinegar and bake at 450 for 30 mins, and finally broil for another 5). We also found that the potatoes are really good with a bit of green onion sprinkled on top. And, to finish off the rest of our vegetables, another Mad Hatter Salad. This time, I chopped the cabbage bigger, which made for prettier colors, but created a good salad of unproportional vegetable sizes. The carrots were too finely shredded, the cabbage chunks too big, and the sunflower seeds somehow got lost in the mix.
Cooking Sunday lunch is one of my favorite moments of the week. It’s just such a nice feeling to sleep in a little, and spend the morning thinking about delicious food. This past Sunday, I made BBQ pork ribs, with some cornbread and my favorite Mad Hatter Salad.
The ribs were awesome, although I think next time we’ll go with a different bbq sauce. We used Annie’s sauce, and it had an overwhelming celery flavor. But, the ribs were very soft and yummy. I wasn’t too enthused about the cornbread. I am still searching for the perfect cornbread recipe – slightly sweet and honeyish, but also crisp and light. This cornbread was none of those things, extremely dense, almost like a casserole; it didn’t even taste like cornbread, although it did have a good taste. And the salad, you can never go wrong with the oh-so delicious shredded cabbage, carrot, broccoli and sunflower seed salad drizzled with a oil, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce & sugar dressing.
Thanks to the snow day I had yesterday, I was inspired to make the “no knead bread” that was made famous by the New York Times and widely emailed since 2006 when it first appeared. I found a recipe that slightly modified the original based on previous experiences baking the bread and also had looked at others’ reviews. I keep forgetting that our oven is slightly warmer than most, so unfortunately, the bread was slightly overdone (at least on the outside). It was extremely hard for Noah to wait the hour after the bread is taken out of the oven before slicing and eating. 🙂
To go along with our long awaited bread, I also made some roast artichoke and baked garlic:
For the artichoke, I watched a video that Noah found here (watched their baked artichoke video and their how to prep an artichoke video). I drizzled the prepped artichoke with olive oil and salt, wrapped it in foil, and baked it in the toaster oven for 1 hour (425 degrees).
For the garlic, I peeled the extraneous layers until I got to just the cloves, cut off a 1/2 inch from the top, put it in a small oven safe bowl covered with foil and baked during the last 20 mins of the artichoke time. After I took out the artichoke, I lowered the temperature to 400, and baked for another 10 mins. Then, I had to remove the foil for another 10 to make sure it finished cooking. I think next time, I’ll just bake it at 400 for the 30-35 mins like you’re supposed to. This was my garlic guide.
I think we both determined our favorite accompaniment with the bread was WholeFoods 365 Olive Oil, and my runner up was the roast garlic.