Wild Striped Bass over Tomato-Fennel Broth

Dinner:  August 22, 2007

This is one of my favorite preparations for firm white fish fillets, and it’s a breeze to prepare. The base is a super simple tomato-fennel broth – just a couple of cups of chopped fennel seasoned with salt and sautéed in a bit of olive oil, then dolled up with a splash of booze and some tomatoes. I usually use pastis or white vermouth, but last night I mixed it up a bit, adding an ounce of Lucid, which had a nice complexity. For the tomato component, I used a combination of the puree of fresh San Marzanos I made over the weekend along with a few crushed canned ones.

I’ve done versions of this dish using blackfish and black sea bass, but last night Mike brought home some super fresh wild striped bass, and I think it was the best yet – lightly flouring the skinless filets and giving them a quick fry in the cast iron skillet gave them a crisp, golden exterior and kept the flesh incredibly moist. I finished the broth with some chopped fennel fronds and the juice of half a lemon, then spooned it into bowls and topped it with the fish. I sprinkled a few more fennel fronds on top and finished each bowl with a bit of lemon zest.

8 thoughts on “Wild Striped Bass over Tomato-Fennel Broth

  1. Jennifer Hess says:

    I’m a relatively recent convert to the joys of fennel – I never liked licorice or anything anise-y growing up, but now I love it. Putting that light coating of flour on the fish before cooking it really makes a world of difference, too.

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