Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A really good fish dish!

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It started with leftover corn on the cob. We'd been part of a pot-luck cook-out and I'd made it the way I always do nowadays. I mixed the juice and finely grated zest of a lime into a stick of room temperature butter, slathered it on the shucked corn and wrapped it in foil. It takes about 20 minutes to cook on a hot grill, turning often, or in a 400-degree oven, on a baking sheet. Try it, and you'll never boil corn on the cob again.

I had four ears left over. I was going to my friends' house, Laretha and Bryce Randolph, to cook together and thought I'd like to try a version of a dish I'd read about in a restaurant trade magazine. At the farmers' market I picked up some lady peas and red bell peppers and we were set to go.
I used a spice rub Laretha had made for the fish, and a succotash to go under it. A bacon sauce on top made it what all at the table pronounced one of the best dishes we'd ever cooked together.

I know it looks long, but trust me, it's well worth it. I used golden tilefish, similar in taste and texture to the sadly overfished and expensive Chilean sea bass, but halibut or grouper would work well. You can made the rub any time, and you'll probably find lots of other things to use it on. You can make the succotash and bacon sauce earlier in the day and reheat at serving time. Then all you would have to do is sear the fish and you're good to go.


For the rub:
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For the sauce:
4 ounces good smoked bacon, 1/4" strips
1 cup onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp unsulphured molasses
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock

For the succotash:
3/4 lb lady peas or lima beans
1 slice bacon, minced
2 tbsp butter
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, minced (see note)
4 cups corn cut off the cob, cooked or fresh
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream

To finish:
2 lbs firm-fleshed fish filet, cut into 6 servings
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine all the ingredients for the rub. Keep in an airtight jar at room temperature.

In a skillet, cook the bacon for the sauce until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. In the remaining fat, cook the onion and garlic until tender. Add the molasses and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock and simmer briefly. Add the bacon and set aside.

Cook the lady peas with the minced bacon in water to barely cover, for about 20 minutes or until just tender. In a skillet over medium heat cook the bell pepper, onion and carrot until tender. Add the corn and stir to combine. Add the lady peas with their cooking liquid and the thyme. Simmer until the liquid is reduced slightly. Add the cream and simmer briefly. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Sprinkle the rub over the fish. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and cook the fish until well-browned and just barely done.
Serve the fish on a bed of succotash. Drizzle the sauce with the bacon over the top and serve immediately. Serves six.

NOTE: One jalapeño pepper with the seeds removed will give a nice zing. Leaving the seeds in makes the dish hotter. Use your own taste in hotness as a guide.

1 comment:

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