Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Aug 5, 2014

Striped Bass with Tomatoes, Corn & Basil

Libations used: 1/2 cup white wine...
Libations left over: Pretty much the whole bottle, so serve with dinner...
This past Sunday, the summer rain was falling, so it was a perfect night to cook.  I knew when I headed over to the Farmers' Market in the morning that I was going to pick up some fresh corn, those little Sun Gold tomatoes that taste like summer in a bite, and basil – all the flavors of the season.  I had no idea what I was going to make, but how could one go wrong with these three ingredients?  I ended up finding a Martha Stewart recipe for Striped Bass with a corn, tomato, onion, and jalapeño relish cooked in a white wine sauce, with chopped cilantro and basil stirred in.  I picked up a whole Striped Bass at Santa Monica Seafood and had them fillet it for me (I really need to learn how to do this on my own, but hey, they at least give you the bones to make stock!). For the wine, use a dry white.  I used Fess Parker's Parker Family Reserve, a white blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. This is a great lazy Sunday or weeknight dish that comes together quickly.  The fish is pan-seared for a few minutes and then finished off over the relish as the vegetables cook.  It may have been raining, but I felt like the sun was shining as I devoured this.

Striped Bass with Tomatoes, Corn & Basil - serves 4
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 Striped Bass fillets, skin on (about 5 oz each)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño or Serrano pepper, with ribs and seeds removed, and thinly sliced (I actually used a whole jalapeño)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Fess Parker's Parker Family Reserve)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 ears of corn, husks and silk removed, and kernels scraped off
  • 1 heaping cup of cherry tomatoes quartered or Sun Gold tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil (it should be shimmering and smoking).
- Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place the fish in the skillet, skin side down, and cook for about 4 minutes (less if it's a thinner cut).
- Turn fish over and cook for another minute (it shouldn't be cooked through).
- Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, stirring and cooking until tender and browned for about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the corn, tomatoes, jalapeño or Serrano into the skillet.
- Add the wine and water and place the fish on top of the mixture.
- Cover and cook for about 4 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through.
- Transfer the cooked fish, skin side up, to shallow bowls or plates.
- Stir the basil and cilantro into the veggie mixture and spoon around the fish.