Fish, preserving, Salad, Vegetables

To Russia, with love.

There’s an expression that goes something like this: “He (or she) knows just enough to be dangerous.” When it comes to culinary expression, a little bit of information plus a lot of ignorance can turn cultural homage into caricature. Who among us has not cringed at some hamfisted effort to honor a particular cuisine? I place in this category basically anything The Olive Garden has ever produced in the name of abbondanza, myriad attempts by clueless schools to celebrate Black History Month with fried chicken and watermelon, and the time when, in law school, I cooked a perfect salmon florentine out of the Pierre Franey 60 Minute Gourmet book for a date who promptly requested soy sauce, because “that’s what goes on Chinese food.” Cue sad trombone.

Recently, our Supper Club assembled around a pre-Soviet Russian theme, inspired by Chekhov’s praise in The Siren for the classic Russian dish, kulebyaka, a giant brioche enclosing sturgeon, kasha, and mushrooms. In a turnabout of the czarist predilection for all things French, Escoffier brought the kulebyaka back to France, where its complexity and richness thrilled gastronomes. The selection of this theme made me mildly anxious. I primarily associate Russian food with the folk tale Vasilissa the Beautiful, about a kind of creepy talking doll whose eyes would light up like fireflies whenever it was about to dispense profundities like “the morning is wiser than the evening” to the little girl who fed it bits of cabbage soup, black bread, and kvass. You get what you pay for, I suppose. To expose the depths of my ignorance even further, I can’t think about this story without hearing Yakov Smirnoff in my head, saying something like “…In Soviet Russia, creepy little girl doll eat YOU!” Like I said, just enough to be dangerous.

Under the circumstances, it seemed best to steer clear of anything that might resemble a mockery of Russian cuisine. Pickled vegetables are popular throughout Russia, as are hearty breads and smoked fish. Why not combine cured and lightly smoked mackerel with black bread, not as a sandwich, but as a first course? To reinforce the cold freshness of the dish, a salad of pickled apple and celery is compressed for crispness, and scattered on the mackerel with herbs, peppery radish slices, and toasted bread crumbs.

Cured mackerel, compressed celery and apple salad, black bread

This dish combines smoky, briny mackerel, with a compressed, vinegared salad, and slightly bitter toasted black bread. It’s not Russian in any traditional sense, but surely could be served at the modern Russian zakuski table.

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Cured mackerel

1 whole mackerel, about 4-5 lbs after gutting
100g sugar
50g brown sugar
120g sea salt
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp coarsely ground coriander seed
120g Bakon vodka or another smoke-flavored vodka

Combine all dry ingredients well.

Fillet the mackerel. (For a treat, roast the rack and the head at 400F until the meat is just opaque. Pull it off the bone and eat with a squeeze of lemon and some salt, or some chimichurri.) Remove any pin bones with tweezers and trim off any portions discolored with bile (depicted in photo) as they will be bitter.

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Place the fillets in a container just large enough to hold both. Coat the mackerel well with the seasoning on both meat and skin side (about twice as much on the meat side as underneath), and set in the container skin side down. Drizzle the Bakon vodka over the top. Cover the container tightly with clingfilm and refrigerate 12 hours.

By this time, some liquid should have leached from the mackerel and mixed with some of the curing spice to form a light amber liquid. Flip the fillets over so the meat side is down in the liquid. Cover tightly and cure for another 3 days.

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After a total of about 3-4 days, depending on thickness of your fillets, the mackerel should be ready. Test by slicing off a thin bit. If the mackerel is satisfactorily cured, rinse lightly, pat dry, and cold-smoke using alder or oak chips and a smoking gun for about 30 minutes, over ice. Wrap tightly to store. You can hold this cold cured mackerel for about 4 days under refrigeration, but otherwise should freeze it. As the curing process removes a substantial amount of water, cured fish freezes nicely. In fact, the mackerel photo above came straight from the freezer – we ate the other one before I remembered to take a picture. Bonus: frozen mackerel slices more easily.

Compressed celery and apple salad

The purpose of the Vitamin C is to prevent the apples browning. If you intend to serve immediately after compressing, you probably don’t need it, but if you intend to hold for more than a few hours, be sure to use Vitamin C or lemon juice.

10 mg ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
30 ml filtered water
30 ml white wine vinegar
1 sprig tarragon
2-3 ribs celery
1 large Granny Smith apple

Dissolve the ascorbic acid in water. Stand 15 minutes and then combine with the wine vinegar and tarragon in a plastic bag. Vacuum on high for 90 seconds.

Peel and slice the celery, and slice the apple, into paper-thin slices using a mandoline or by hand. Bag separately and add about 1.5 tbsp vinegar solution to each bag. Seal and compress in vacuum chamber. Hold under refrigeration until ready to serve.

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Pumpernickel bread prepared according to recipe in The Bread Bible, Rose Levy Berenbaum

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Slice the bread very thinly. Place a skillet over medium heat and, when hot, add about 2 tbsp butter. As soon as the butter begins to foam, add the bread slices and turn to coat with butter on both sides; continue to toast until browned. Cool and break into bits or crumbs; hold for service, tightly covered.

To assemble:

Thinly slice the mackerel and pound it out as carpaccio, between sheets of clingfilm. Thinly slice a red or watermelon radish (black radish is appropriate as well).

Plate the mackerel, with the herbs, salad, radish, and toasted black bread crumbs evenly distributed, or in any other configuration you like.

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Bonus: Beetroot sorbet

This is a bonus dish. Initially, I planned to pair the mackerel and rye with a beetroot sorbet, thinking it would seem especially Russian. When I tasted it, though, it really just tasted really beet-y and sweet; even a meaty, strong fish like mackerel was tasteless beside it. Incidentally, this is why it’s a good idea to taste a dish before serving it the first time (I say this as someone who rarely follows my own advice, except when I have some doubts at the inception). The beet sorbet is far too strong for most pairings but makes a great intermezzo.

Beetroot sorbet (1 pint)

12 medium beets, about 700g
200g sugar
300 g water
100 g liquid glucose
2 leaves gelatin
1 tbsp sherry vinegar

Scrub clean and roast the beets at 400F until tender to the center, about 75 minutes. Cool and peel. You should have about 550g beets. Slice into chunks.

Heat the water, sugar, and glucose in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add the beets and simmer about 20 minutes until the beets are extremely tender. Hydrate the gelatin leaves and add to the beet mixture with the vinegar.

Puree until completely smooth in a vitaprep or blender (if you cannot achieve a velvety consistency in your blender, strain the mixture through a chinois). Chill and process in an ice cream machine. Freeze at least 4 hours to set.

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East Asian, Fish, Frenchy Things, preserving, Vegetables

Expiration date.

The modern freezer is both great and terrible in its possibilities. On the one hand, you never have to let anything go bad again if you remember to package and freeze it in time. On the other hand, if you’re not careful, you end up with a lot of mystery product, or even worse, freezer burn spoilage. Who among us has not watched Gordon Ramsay explode in tomato-faced rage at some incompetent restaurateur’s two year supply of frozen gnocchi and fried chicken wings?

A few weeks ago, I found a couple of whole trout in our freezer, unblemished within their tight plastic wrap and forgotten for over two years. Not really forgotten, actually – they were gifts from a friend and former member of my staff. Patrick was a midwesterner like me, and he returned to his native St Louis to fish for trout every summer. On returning from his first trip after he began working for me, he stopped by my office. “There’s a trout in the freezer with your name on it,” he said. “It’s wrapped in a Cubs towel.” From then on, he always brought me a trout, somewhere in the 2 pound range, on returning from those summer fishing trips.

As it happens, my husband loves smoked trout. His enjoyment of smoked fish represents a paradoxical type of pickiness in which the diner asserts great dislike of a specific food, but makes so many exceptions as to swallow the rule. For example, my husband claims not to like cheese, but layers it generously into sandwiches, omelets, and the like. In fact, he has been known to eat macaroni and cheese using a shoveling motion. As far as I can tell, his cheese dislike is more or less localized to the waxen, sweaty chunks found on supermarket deli trays and an abomination known as the Huntsman. In the same vein, he claims to dislike fish, but is a sashimi connoisseur and avid consumer of smoked salmon, trout, tuna, and so on. When our local steakhouse, The Prime Rib, took the smoked trout appetizer off its menu earlier this year, citing “lack of interest,” he was nearly as disappointed as if they’d started cutting the roast prime rib into sensible portions.

Patrick and I never did discuss how we cooked his catch. Early in our acquaintance, he told me, “you’ll probably find me kind of boring, food-wise. I’m what I guess you’d call a meat and potatoes guy.” I always assumed he would go for the grill, but I never found out. About two years ago, Patrick died unexpectedly one winter morning, about a year after he married and only a couple of weeks after the birth of their child. He was forty-seven years old. The last two trout he gave me have been in the freezer ever since. If pressed, I would probably admit they remained untouched as a sort of memorial.

Remarking on the challenges of forging personal connections in the modern office setting, a colleague of Patrick’s observed that, when people we know die, we don’t remember them for the quality of their work or the amount of face time they gave at the office. “No one’s going to say, hey, that guy was a really competent lawyer and he really enjoyed working late,” he said. “They remember that he was a great guy.” He was a great guy, a superb fisherman, and a thoughtful friend. This trout salad is for him.

Smoked trout salad

I have provided the method below (following the salad recipe) for curing and smoking trout. You can use it for most hot smoked fish – it’s a simple 4% salt brine. Although winter is not a good time for smoking generally – the cold outside temperatures increase the difficulty in maintaining a temperature adequate for meat smoking – it actually is a good time for fish smoking as you want to maintain a temperature just high enough to cook the fish through, but low enough to minimize albumen coagulation and leakage. In plain English, that’s the goopy white stuff you might find leaking out of fully cooked trout or salmon, especially when it’s been overcooked. A smoker temperature of about 160F/71C should accomplish both goals.

Sudachi are a lime-like sour citrus native to Tokushima Prefecture in Japan. Outside Tokushima, they are totally unavailable out of season and difficult to find even in season. You are more likely to find sudachi juice in the bottle at a Japanese (or possibly Korean) market. If unavailable, combine half and half lime juice and sour orange juice (such as Seville).

1 large avocado
1 Granny Smith apple
2 heads little gem or Boston lettuce, washed and spun dry
1 c pickled carrot (see below)
1/2 c sudachi mayonnaise (see below)
320g hot smoked trout (see below)
2 tbsp minced chive

Break the trout into 1″ chunks. Peel, halve, and thinly slice the avocado; brunoise the apple; separate the gem lettuce into leaves..

Plate the lettuce, curls of pickled carrot, avocado slices, apple brunoise, and the smoked trout. Garnish with a generous quantity of the sudachi mayonnaise and the chive.

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Hot smoked trout

Naturally, I don’t endorse keeping a couple of trout in the freezer for two or three years before use. You should use the freshest possible product. That said, the trout in question were tightly sealed in heavy plastic and their texture was beautiful, even after so much time in the deep freeze. It brought to mind a scene from Northern Exposure in which Joel excavates a long-frozen woolly mammoth, which, to his horror, Walt soon dispatches in his belly. “One man’s life altering experience is another man’s tenderloin.” I suppose that’s true.

If you butcher your own trout and have a lot of trim left over, you can cure and smoke it; just pull it from the brine after about an hour or they will be too salty. Check the smoker at about an hour; if the fish is fully cooked and well smoked but moist, the fish can come out.

Four filets of freshwater trout, pin bones removed
2 l ice water
80g kosher salt
40g sugar
1/8 tsp TCM (optional but extends preservation)
about 1 tbsp each whole white peppercorns, true red (Pondicherry) peppercorns, and coriander seed

Bring the salt, sugar, TCM, spices, and 100 ml of the water to a boil, covered, and simmer until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Cool completely and then add to the remaining ice water. Be sure the brine is cold before adding the trout.

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Add the trout filets to the ice water brine. Refrigerate 3-4 hours (do not brine overnight). Rinse and pat dry. Place skin side-up on a rack over a sheet or hotel pan in the refrigerator and dry, uncovered, about 24 hours or until dry and somewhat tacky to the touch. This dry outer layer is the pellicle and is essential to protecting the fish as it smokes.

Smoke in an offset or vertical smoker with your preferred wood (I like pecan, alder, or apple for smoked fish) at 160F for 75 minutes, less if your trout is well under 1/2″/13mm thick and a little longer if it is more than 3/4″/20mm. Chill immediately and use or freeze within four days.

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Pickled carrot:

2 large carrots, peeled
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp filtered water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Square off the carrots and slice thinly with a mandoline. Place in a single layer in a vacuum bag.

Bring the liquids, salt, and sugar to a boil and pour into the bag. Seal under vacuum. Chill.

Sudachi mayonnaise:

large pinch salt
pinch white pepper
one egg yolk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sudachi juice (substitute yuzu, or half and half lime and sour orange)
1 1/2 c rice bran or grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp piment d’espelette or ichimi togarashi

Place the salt, white pepper, egg, mustard, vinegar, and half the sudachi juice in the bottom of a sturdy bowl. Whisk to emulsify and then, whisking constantly, drip in the oil until you have a stable and thick emulsion. Continue whisking in the oil until the mayonnaise is the desired consistency. (You also can prepare this by dripping the oil into the ingredients in a blender). Whisk in the remaining sudachi juice, espelette, and additional salt if necessary to taste.

Store in a squeeze bottle under refrigeration.

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Fish, Offal

Fish tales.

During the last few years, restaurant menus have come to feature more and more of the offal – those off-cuts that so often get thrown out or turned into pet food out of ignorance of their savory qualities. I’ve written about offal around here from time to time – using liver for pâté and terrines, the joys of sweetbreads, cheeks and caul, for a start. We eat those, and plenty more – the tongue and heart, and brains are favorites.

In all the talk and excitement about oxtail and beef tongue, pork liver and lamb brains, fish often gets left behind. And that’s a shame, because – unlike most eating mammals – fish are small enough that a home cook can break down the whole animal and consume it within a meal or two. What kind of offal does the fish have to offer? Well, if you’re like most people, you’ve been eating fish primarly in fillet form, or maybe once in a while cut into steaks. Every fish has a collar, though – basically the neck – which holds delicious bits of meat; larger fish often have very moist, scallop-like cheeks; and then there’s the liver. In the spring, you’re apt to find roe sacs; for some fish, like pike and shad, these are quite creamy and delicate, even more tender than brains. Shad is reliably delicious, which accounts for its recurring star turn every spring; the rockfish roe (pictured below) is tender and moist, but sometimes can have a bitter, bleachy taste that is off-putting.

Rockfish roe, gremolata, broken brown butter.

If you’re new to fish off-cuts, the collar is probably the friendliest for a start. The recipe below for rockfish collar will be familiar to you if you’ve ever ordered hamachi kama, or the yellowtail collar, at a Japanese restaurant. If you don’t want to deal with off-cuts, try the recipe for a seared rockfish fillet, which pairs yuzu with tomato in a delicious sauce.

Rockfish collar, togarishi goma

The collar of any fish holds some of its sweetest meat – within the c-shaped curve of the bone are moist nuggets of fish, akin to the crab backfin meat in terms of flavor and succulence. Each fish only has one, of course, and it isn’t considered a prime cut, so you’re not going to find it unless a) you break down your own fish (which I recommend of course, to keep your knife skills tight and to get the freshest product); b) you live in a city with a large Asian population and a great fish market; or c) you have a reliable fishmonger who breaks down fish in-house and can sell or give you the collars. It’s worth asking around if you’re not willing to break down your own fish.

If you do want to try your hand at butchery, you’ll find it’s not hard. I recommend you have someone scale your fish, at a minimum (I sometimes do it myself but it is a colossal mess); if you have no plans for the liver and roe, they might as well gut the fish too, because the air bladders can be difficult to separate from the gills. Just ask to have your fish scaled and cleaned.

Scaling.

Lay the cleaned fish on one side with the head to the left and the belly facing you, on a couple of clean kitchen towels on a cutting board to reduce slippage. Start by trimming off the fins, which can be poke-y. Slice the fish downward through to the bone, about an inch behind the gills (if you took economics, you’re looking at a slightly downward-sloping demand curve). Then, starting at the tail end, slice off the fillet, working along the central bone at a slight angle so the blade runs against the bone, with your other hand holding the fish in place, ending when you reach the gill incision. Flip it over and do the other fillet. At this point you can clean the bones from the fillet, trim off the belly fat, etc.

To get to the collar, first chop off the spine at the incision you made behind the gills. The portion of the head between the gills and that incision is the collar – and it usually contains the fish’s pectoral fins. Think of the collar as the neck, more or less. You can cut the cheeks out of the head as well – sadly, with the typical 18-20″ rockfish, the cheeks are pretty small. Use the spine and the rest of the head for fish fumet (akin to stock); you’ll simmer it with onion, celery, carrot, fennel, white wine, and aromatics for about an hour and strain through a cheesecloth-lined chinois.

Broken down.

The recipe below specifies togarishi goma, which, broken into its Japanese components, refers to a spicy seasoning of shichimi togarishi (“seven spice mixture”) and toasted sesame seeds. I’ve never seen it outside of the famous Japanese vendor Yawataya, and that’s where I get it. Instead, I recommend buying shichimi togarishi, which is widely available in the Japanese section of groceries, and combining it with toasted sesame seeds.

Rockfish collar, miso, togarishi goma.

2 rockfish collars
2 tbsp shiro miso or aka miso
2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp usukuchi soy
1 medium yuzu or 1 small lemon
2 tbsp togarishi goma or a combination of 1/2 tsp shichimi togarishi and 2 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Oven 500F/260C

If using a combination of shichimi togarishi and sesame seeds, combine and set aside.

Combine the miso, mirin, and soy in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce to a thick glaze. Coat the rockfish collars in the glaze. If your oven is blazing, you can move on right away; otherwise, refrigerate the collars.

Roast for about 8-10 minutes until just fully cooked through. Season with a squeeze of yuzu juice and togarishi goma. The fish’s meat will release easily from the bone when fully cooked.

Rockfish, tomato, yuzu

Rockfish, or striped bass, is one of the finest fish in the coastal Atlantic. There aren’t a lot of advantages to living in Baltimore, especially if your husband is allergic to crab, but rockfish certainly counts as one. But take advantage of your local fish; any medium-textured white fish will do.

4 6-ounce portions rockfish (the photo below depicts a 3-ounce portion), one per person
1 pint cherry and/or pear tomatoes – if you can find a mixed box of different colors, use that
2 large yellow potatoes, peeled
2 oz pine nuts
1 medium yuzu, zest grated, halved (substitute a lemon if yuzu is unavailable)
minced chives
salt and pepper

1 large banana shallot, minced
1 c dry white wine
1 14-ounce can of tomatoes
2 c fish fumet (described above)
2 fresh bay leaves
4 branches thyme
salt
piment d’espelette or cayenne pepper
canola or grapeseed oil

400F/205C oven.

Prepare the tomato broth first:

Place a sauce pot over medium-low heat and, when hot, add a little oil to film the pan. Add the shallots and sweat until translucent. Add the white wine and reduce to au sec (a glaze). Add the canned tomatoes, breaking up, and simmer about 15 minutes to break down. Add the fish fumet and herbs and simmer another 15 minutes. Strain through a chinois, pressing on the solids. Taste for seasoning; add salt and espelette. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the dish.

Blanch the tomatoes and cook the potatoes. Set a Large pot of salted water containing the potatoes to boil over high heat. While waiting to boil, score the cherry tomatoes by slicing a shallow “x” in the stem end of the tomato. Don’t cut through to the seed sacs. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and remove with a spider after about 10 seconds. These tomatoes are small so you do not have to shock them in cold water; simply wait until they cool a little and then slip off the skins.

When the potatoes are tender, drain and peel off the skin. Slice about 1/4″. Sauté until just golden in a hot pan with a little clarified butter.

Season the fish; if working with a larger fillet (over 4 oz), slice through the skin with 2-3 shallow parallel cuts to prevent too much curling. Place a skillet over high heat and, when hot, add about 2 tbsp of oil. Place the fish skin-side down in the pan and cook about 2 minutes, until the skin begins to crisp. Transfer to the oven and finish cooking. Cook about 9-11 minutes depending on the fillet’s thickness. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a single layer in the sheet pan while the fish roasts.

Plate the roasted potatoes and the blanched cherry tomatoes. Top with a portion of pan-roasted rockfish and a sprinkling of pine nuts. Stir the yuzu juice and zest into the tomato broth and ladle the broth around the fish. Garnish with chive.

Seared rockfish, yellow finns, golden pear tomatoes, pine nuts.

With tomato and yuzu.

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East Asian, Fish, Indian, Q&A, Random Thoughts

Salmon.

A reader wants to know the difference among several types of salmon. For the reasons why naming isn’t everything when it comes to seafood, scandalous information about mislabeling, and a couple of recipes for salmon, visit the Salmon page.

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Fish, Latin, Quick Meals

Chimichurri.

The other day, a friend noted that, although he likes bluefish, he won’t cook it inside the house. I told him that I know a way to prepare it indoors without stinking up the joint. “You’re on,” he said.

The smelliest and most regret-inducing way to prepare fish indoors is to pan-fry rich, oily fish. For a lot of people, it’s hard to get right, too – it sticks to the pan because people are afraid to use oil; it becomes overdone and chewy, with a tough, leathery exterior because people are afraid to undercook. Don’t pan-fry. You’ll smell it for days, and not in a good way. Grilling is always a good option, but it also can pose the problem of sticking. My solution? Roast the fish. If you roast fish, you won’t smell a thing. Not even with bluefish, or any of the stronger fish.

So of course, I went to Whole Foods looking for bluefish to prove my point, and they didn’t have it. According to the fish guy, people in the greater Annapolis area don’t buy it. Same goes for mackerel, another favorite fish with a similar rich, meaty flavor profile, and sardines, a rich, meaty, small fish perfectly suited to grilling over coals. So I bought mahi-mahi, a milder but somewhat firmer fish. Whole Foods had a whole mahi mahi, iced down, in the display, and it is a striking fish with golden skin, a prominent round forehead, and a sail-like dorsal fin. Fished off U.S. waters in the Atlantic, it’s also a sustainable choice.

I like to pair strong-flavored fish like bluefish, mackerel, and sardines with chimichurri sauce. In 1997, I traveled to Nicaragua with my family for the presidential inauguration. From an ideological standpoint I have to say the president was not my cup of tea, but the trip introduced me to chimichurri, which we ate during lunch with roasted Argentine beef. It may have been the most delicious beef dish I had ever tasted at the time.

Chimichurri, sharp from vinegar, savory with onions, and green with parsley and other herbs, is perfectly suited to cutting the fattiness of rich meats. That much has been clear to the generations of Latin Americans who have enjoyed it on well-marbled, grass-fed beef. It occurred to me after the trip, however, that chimichurri was an even better pairing with rich, oily fish. And you know, it really is. My husband – “not a fish guy” – loves even the stronger-tasting fish, if I serve them with chimichurri.

Spanish mackerel, chimichurri

Roasted fish with chimichurri

Within reason, you can substitute other fish for the bluefish or mackerel, but I urge you to try this dish with one of these fish (or sardines, which are amazing with chimichurri). Don’t use a mild, delicate fish like trout, flounder, or sole – these can’t stand up to the strong flavors of the sauce. I’m not a huge fan of salmon either (except in its raw form), and I probably would steer clear of salmon as well.

And when you’re choosing fish, always choose carefully, with an eye toward preserving ocean life. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s excellent Seafood Watch program provides three easy ways to check whether your choice is environmentally friendly. They’ve got an online guide, a downloadable, printable pocket guide (sushi guides, nationwide guides, and regional guides are all available), and a super-useful mobile guide for iPhone users. The ocean needs our help – now more than ever.

2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, washed and spun dry
3 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
1 small onion, minced finely
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil

Bluefish or spanish mackerel, or another firm, meaty fish
olive oil
salt or soy sauce
black pepper

Combine the oregano, onion, salt, pepper, cayenne. Whisk together the vinegar and oil and stir into the onion blend. Set aside.

Mince the parsley as finely as you can and add to the vinaigrette. Allow flavors to combine for at least half an hour before serving.

While chimichurri rests, heat oven to 400F. Fillet the fish if necessary, and place on a sheet pan – lining it with foil will facilitate cleanup. Rub a small quantity of soy sauce (just barely to season) into the flesh, or salt the fish, and drizzle with a small quantity of olive oil. Roast about 8 minutes for spanish mackerel or 16 for bluefish, depending on the thickness of the filet. Season with black pepper.

Spoon chimichurri over the fish.

Variant: clean sardines; make several small (1/8″) cuts in flesh on each side. Season with a little salt and grill on an oiled grate over coals. Serve with chimichurri.

Mahi-mahi, chimichurri, potato/zucchini

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