Simplicity is the secret to success with fish


November 02, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

The most currently friendly food for our health happens to be fish. Lucky for us that one of the best varieties, the Chesapeake striped bass or rockfish, is once again plentiful and available since the ban has been lifted.

The Mediterranean region knows how to cook fish simply, yet with flavor so that the freshest ingredients are showcased. The following recipe comes from a major new book with sweeping photographs, "Mediterranean The Beautiful Cookbook" by Joyce Goldstein. The recipes are inspiring in their simplicity and you will find most of the items for this one in your pantry.

Although bass is specified in the recipe, any mild, firm fish -- red snapper, grouper, orange roughy, halibut, monkfish, trout or even sardines -- will work. In the Mediterranean, this dish is often served at room temperature which can be a real plus for saving time.

The sauce for the fish is also delightful topping a potato. Two-inch diameter baby potatoes can be quickly cooked as the starch for the meal, allowing two to three per person. Scrub the skins well and then place on a microwave safe plate. Microwave them at 100 percent power for 8 1/2 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes. The potatoes are done if they are tender when pierced with a fork.

For dessert, serve fresh seasonal fruit and crispy cookies snapping with ginger.

Items you should have as staples are: salt and pepper, lemon, all-purpose flour, red wine vinegar, garlic, fresh or dried rosemary, bay leaves, tomatoes, fresh fruit.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list: sea bass or striped bass fillets; 8-12 tiny potatoes; gingersnap cookies

Sea Bass with Vinegar and Rosemary

Serves 4

4 sea bass or striped bass fillets (about 4 to 5 ounces each)

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon flour

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 to 1/2 cup water, as needed

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried and crushed

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (3 or 4 good-sized plum tomatoes)

additional flour for coating

nonstick vegetable coating

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper to taste and lemon juice. Place small amount of flour in a shallow dish and dip fish to dust lightly, shaking off excess.

Spray a nonstick skillet with vegetable coating and heat to medium high. Add fish and cook about 4 minutes per side until golden. Remove cooked fish to paper towels to drain and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

To make the sauce, wipe out pan with a paper towel. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the 1 tablespoon of flour and stir about 3 minutes until the flour is golden.

Add the vinegar, water (starting with 1/3 cup and adding more at the end for desired consistency), garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and tomatoes. Reduce to low heat and simmer while stirring, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer fish to a platter or individual serving plates. Spoon sauce over fish.

Per serving: calories, 282; protein, 23 g; fat, 18 g; sodium, 84 mg; carbohydrates, 10 g.

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