The storm which hit the eastern end of Long Island much more dramatically than had in New York City kept my normal source of fresh fish away from the Greenmarket today, so I headed for the Lobster Place, where I was a little overwhelmed by the choices I had. I rarely find Striped Bass in Union Square, so I decided to splurge a bit, even if the fillet which I pointed to this afternoon weighed a little more than I really needed for the two of us.
I’m now reminded once again why this fish is so prized. It’s the taste, the texture, and the amenability to any number of herbal and vegetable treatments and accompaniments (okay, there’s also the lack of bones). But I didn’t always appreciate that. Years ago, when this fish had supplied the conclusive argument which destroyed New York City’s Westway project. I think that I had thought the ‘Stripers’ cause was advanced mostly in the service of sport fishermen, even though (or perhaps because) I was then living in Rhode Island, where Striped Bass were known as both game fish and available, both whole and in fillets, in the fish markets I occasionally patronized on the docks in both Newport and Providence (I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t yet become really comfortable with cooking fish).
- La Ratte fingerling potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, halved, tossed with olive oil, rosemary from Eataly, salt, pepper, and whole garlic cloves from Lucky Dog Organic, spread in an enameled cast iron pan and cooked at 400º until tender and browned, removed from the oven and the vegetable, garlic and herb pushed aside in the pan, allowing room in the center for the fish, and halved Backyard Farms cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods placed on the top of the potatoes
- Striped Bass fillet (just under one pound, for the two of us) from Lobster Place, scored with several very shallow slashes on the skin side, to prevent curling, placed in a ceramic pan skin side down, scattered with rosemary leaves (alternatively almost any fresh herb), salt, pepper, some homemade dry bread crumbs, and a drizzle of olive oil, the pan placed in a 425º oven for about 10 or 12 minutes, after which it was removed, and an organic lemon from Whole Foods was squeezed over the top
- small Brussels sprouts from from John D. Maderna Farms, tossed with salt, pepper, and some olive oil, roasted in a 400º oven for twenty minutes or so, chopped spring garlic from Rogowski Farm added during the last minutes, removed from the oven and drizzled with a little bit of lemon juice
- the wine was a Spanish white, CVNE Cune Monopole Rioja Blanco 2013