Friday, October 15, 2010

Whole sea bass in Mexican salsa verde

salsa verde... green vegetables in the fading ...Image by lorises via Flickr
Two ingredients in Mexican green salsa are tomatillos, bottom, and cilantro.

This wonderful main dish couldn't be simpler. All you need is:

1. Fresh fish.

2. A bottle of green salsa.

3. A  lemon. 

Preparation is minimal, two whole fish will cook in under 30 minutes and if you have leftover pasta or rice, all you need to do is make a salad to complete this nutritious meal.

I found fresh, wild-caught sea bass at H Mart, the Korean supermarket in Little Ferry (with branches in Englewood, Fort Lee and Ridgefield). I bought two fish -- to feed three -- that weighed about 2.5 pounds before cleaning at $5.99 a pound. 

Red snapper or other wild-caught whole fish is great, too, and of course, you could use fillets of wild-caught cod, flounder or other fresh or frozen fish.

All I did with the fish is sprinkle it with a little salt inside and out, stuff it with fresh parsley from garden (you can skip this step) and slit the body in three places. 

I used a 16.7-ounce bottle of La Costena Green Mexican Salsa, marked "Medium" spicy, available for $2.99 at Hackensack Market on Passaic Street and many ShopRites. Goya and other companies make a similar product. La Costena's red salsa is good, too.

I poured some of the salsa -- made from tomatillos and jalapeno peppers -- into the bottom of the pan, placed the fish on top and poured the remaining sauce in, plus the juice of one lemon, and covered it with the clear-glass top.

I cooked it over medium heat for about 20 minutes (in boiling salsa), but 30 minutes will ensure that it is cooked thoroughly. No need to turn over the fish. You'll have plenty of sauce for that leftover rice; we had organic brown rice left over.

I ate my meal in courses, as they do in Italy: leftover bow-tie pasta in tomato sauce, the meaty middle section of one of the sea bass and then a big salad with cucumber, tomato and organic spring mix. Easy, filling and delicious.

Quail eggs

Quail eggs showed up in the produce section recently at H Mart in Little Ferry -- 18 for $2.99. I fry four or five of the small eggs at a time, and their taste is similar to other eggs. I used a sharp knife to crack the black-spotted shells near the ends to avoid breaking the yolks and poured the contents into hot olive oil.

I also found Clifford-brand Fusion tomatoes from Canada that are grown without chemical fertilizers. A one-pound package of small tomatoes --red, green, purple and yellow -- was $1.99, and they have been great in my salads.

Fresh wild salmon run ends

I believe I've seen the last of the fresh wild salmon fillets in the fish case at Costco in Hackensack -- they were available for about four months. This week, I bought Kirkland-brand frozen sockeye salmon and mahi-mahi fillets, both wild caught. 

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