Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sea Bass alla Fiorentina

As I sit down to write this post, there is a show on the Travel Channel profiling the ghost haunting at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop down in the French Quarter. Great night, or the GREATEST night? Anyway, I know my small handful of followers (don't think I'm not grateful though, I know you all by name), are probably sick of all the meat dishes. It's true- I'm a carnivore. I view green things either as garnish, or rabbit food. To me, a baby spring mix is the food that food eats. It's the stuff that's a few notches below me on the food chain. I am trying to change, however, but that is for a different post.

Recently, though, I've put myself on a diet, and have therefore been eating more fish. I think this culinary quest will culminate in my roasting a whole fish on a bed of lemon slices and fresh herbs, but we're not there yet. Tonight, I decided to make use of the barramundi I purchased a few days ago. Avid readers (dad) will remember that barramundi is Asian sea bass. This knowledge came in handy when searching for barramundi recipes online. After reviewing both of them, I decided just to search for "sea bass" and found the attached recipe. You'll be able to read the recipe below, as well as view my picture of the dinner, but I do want to say that I wish I had had baked some garlic bread to go along with it. There was also a curious thing that happened when I turned the fillets, and if anyone has an explanation for this, please email me. I first pan-fried the fillets fish-side down for two minutes. Then, upon flipping them to let the side with the attached skin fry a bit, the whole fillet curled up like giant downward-facing Cs on the pan. I had to keep pushing them down just so that the heat would hit the center of the fillet, and thankfully I managed pretty well. Also, anyone planning to cook this (and you all should because they were delicious), be prepared to have a splatter screen available, wear a kitchen apron, dress in all black, and wear a class 3 Tychem Dupont hazmat suit, because the tomato sauce will invade your soul during the 10 minutes you let it cook down a bit in the pan. If you have a Rondeau pan, now would be the time to use it.

In other news, while getting the ingredients out of my fridge for this dish, I took out my sage again. Some of you will remember this herb from my ill-fated attempt to make pancetta-wrapped figs. Now, I can't be certain, but I do think it might have been the sage that made me fling the possibly innocent figs in the trash. Smelling it again made me gag a little, so maybe I just hate sage :-\


  • c4 (6-ounce) pieces sea bass
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning fish
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning fish
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves


Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow bowl, dredge the fish, tapping off the excess flour to create a light coating.
In a medium nonstick fry pan, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook the fish until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish to a plate.
Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes, water, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook at a simmer for 10 minutes. Add the basil and the fish and heat for 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

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