Friday, June 12, 2009

Gone Fishin'

I eat a lot of fish. I would say that 90% of the time I go out, I order fish. Ask the waitress at Bianca. I always order the salmon even though I pretend that I might order something else. I've even perfected the art of cooking fish in my toaster oven. (Who wants to turn on the oven in the middle of summer?) Sometimes I get a conscience. Which are over fished? What are we supposed to boycott? Will I get mercury poisoning like Jeremy Piven? Check out The Monterey Bay Aquarium website for the latest information and to look up your favorite fish to see how it rates.

In the meantime, I have a killer recipe that is easy enough to make on a weeknight after work (takes 20 minutes!) yet will impress any guest. (OK. If you have a food processor or one of those mini-preps, life will be much easier.) Wrapping fish in prosciutto makes it a bit more elegant than it would be on it's own, and adding a dollop of pesto definitely gilds the lily. Thanks to Mark Bittman and his Minimalist column in the NY Times, I've been making this recipe since last fall. I decided to add a side of peas since I still had about half of a 1 pound bag after making last week's Pasta with Peas. It's like a vibrant green version of mashed potatoes. No! It's nothing like baby food. Try it! You'll like it!

Prosciutto Wrapped Fish (via Mark Bittman)

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (4-6 ounce) fillets of halibut, cod or other white-fleshed fish
2 - 3 ounces thinly slice prosciutto
2 tablespoons butter

1. Heat the oven to 450˚F. In a small food processor, combine the herbs with pine nuts, olive oil and salt and pepper to form a thick paste.

2. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper. Lay two slices of prosciutto on a board, slightly overlapping like fish scales. Smear the prosciutto with a layer of herb mixture, then lay fish in the center and wrap it up.

3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, then add the butter. When the foam subsides, cook the fish for a minute on each side then roast until tender, 5 - 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Fillets are done when a thin knife will pass through their thickest point with little resistance. Serve immediately. Serves 4. (I will make the whole amount of pesto but then only roast one piece of fish, saving the pesto for other things.)

The recipe above calls for Halibut or Cod and according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium website, one should avoid Atlantic Cod (Pacific Cod is good) and Atlantic and California Halibut (Pacific Halibut is good).

Pea Puree (adapted from Gourmet)

1/2 (16-ounce) bag of frozen peas
6 mint fresh leaves
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan combine the peas with 1/4 cup water and the mint leaves and boil, covered, for about 5 minutes, or until the peas are cooked and tender. Drain well, and in a food processor, puree with the cream and butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 2 - 3.

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