Simple Art Of Cooking: Recipes for Your Local Catch

I love all manner of fish and delighted to learn that some of the local fish currently available are porgies, monkfish, sea bass, whiting and fluke. According to Jim Cornesi of Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays, with waters still very cold, small fishing boats are going 6 to 7 miles offshore for all fish. There are some wonderful choices here and some personal favorites include sea bass and monkfish.

While not tomato season yet, bright and fleshy cherry tomatoes from California are plentiful in local markets and cooking them brings out their natural sugars. Sea Bass Provençal provides the wonderful flavors of extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and Pernod for a do-ahead tomato sauce to warm while the meaty white fish fillets are quickly sautéed.

If Chinese cooking is your thing, prep a light sauce of soy, sherry and hoisin and a vegetable combination of mushrooms, red pepper and scallions ahead, then stir fry monkfish chunks with aromatics to be added to the prepped ingredients. Lots of flavors here!

The most important thing with fish is to choose what is seasonal and freshest at the marketplace. In this way fish could also prove to be more economical.

Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Cherry Tomato Provençal

Prepare the sauce ahead and warm through while the fish cooks quickly.

Serves 4

For the sauce

1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved

1/2 pint red cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved

3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup Pernod

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf Italian

parsley

For the fish

4 sea bass filets, skin on, pin bones removed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat a non-stick or heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Put in 3 tablespoons oil and the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tomatoes begin to wilt. Stir in garlic and sauté for about 1 minute longer. Add the Pernod, bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze the pan juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley and cook for 1 minute more. Keep warm or reheat to serve with fish.

2. Score the skin side of the fish twice vertically and twice horizontally. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick or heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Put in 3 tablespoons olive oil then put in the fish fillets, skin-side down, sauté until bottom is crispy, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn with a fish spatula to finish cooking the other side, about 3 minutes more. Serve fish napped with sauce Provençal.

Stir-Fried Monkfish with Shiitake Mushrooms and Scallions

Chinese cooking is fun to do when the ingredients are prepped ahead for a quick stir-fry.

Serves 4 to 6

For the fish

1 1/2 pounds monkfish filet, trimmed of dark sinew and cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the sauce

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoon dry sherry

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

For the vegetables

3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil

1/3 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 red bell pepper, cleaned and sliced into thin strips

3 to 4 large scallions, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal

Kosher salt

Aromatics

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1. Toss fish in a bowl with salt, sugar and cornstarch and set aside. Combine ingredients for sauce mixture; stir to mix  and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok and when hot add the vegetables and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Season with salt, toss to mix and transfer to a side dish.

3. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to wok, swirl the wok to coat with oil and when hot add the seasoned fish. Stir-fry the fish chunks a few at a time, until opaque. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds longer. Add the sauce mixture and toss to mix. Add the vegetables and toss everything together to warm through. Serve hot over fluffy white or brown rice.

Visit Silvia’s website at savoringthehamptons.com to read her blogs and more recipes.

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