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Catch the wave

Three easy recipes for eco-friendly fish.

By Adam Ried
July 12, 2009
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Fish is easy to cook, but it can be complicated to buy, especially if you aim to make choices that are sensitive to the environment. The list of “environmentally responsible” regional seafood prepared by the New England Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Programs is a good place to start. Here are simple recipes for three of the fish on that list -- bluefish, striped bass, and haddock. According to the aquarium, haddock should be hook-caught, though it can be hard to find.

Pan-Fried Bluefish with Spicy Tomato and Bacon Vinaigrette

Serves 6

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise (about 2 cups)

Salt and black pepper

½ teaspoon sugar

6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons flour

2¼ pounds bluefish fillets, skinned and cut into 6 equal portions

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

In a medium nonreactive bowl, mix the tomatoes with ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper and the sugar and let rest about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon, stirring often, until rendered and crisp, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside. Add 1½ tablespoons rendered bacon fat (discard the rest and wipe the skillet clean) to the tomatoes, then add red pepper flakes, cumin, garlic, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste, and stir to mix. Vigorously stir in 2 tablespoons of oil, and set aside.

Place the flour in shallow dish; dredge the fish fillets and season with salt and black pepper. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet, return it to medium-high heat, and heat until the oil ripples. Cook the fish until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the fish to a platter; add the bacon to the vinaigrette and stir to re-blend, if necessary. Spoon the vinaigrette over the fish, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once.

Striped Bass with Roasted Red Pepper and Orange Vinaigrette

Serves 6

2 large oranges

½ cup chopped roasted red pepper (about 1 7-ounce jar)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons flour

2¼ pounds striped bass fillets, skinned and cut into 6 equal portions

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Finely grate about 4 teaspoons of zest from the oranges, and set aside. Slice the ends from the zested oranges, trim off all the white pith, and separate segments, cutting the pulp away from membranes. Set segments aside.

In a food processor or blender, puree half of the roasted red pepper, the orange zest, garlic, thyme, vinegar, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour ¼ cup of oil through the feed tube, processing the mixture until smooth and scraping down the bowl as necessary, about 30 seconds. Pour the vinaigrette into a bowl, and set aside.

Place the flour in shallow dish; dredge the fish fillets and season with salt and pepper. In a very large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until it ripples. Add the fish and cook until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the fish to a platter, top with the orange segments and remaining chopped red pepper, stir the vinaigrette to re-blend, if necessary, then drizzle over the fish and toppings. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once.

Roasted Haddock with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Serves 6

6 anchovy fillets, minced to a paste (about 1½ tablespoons)

2 shallots, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1½ tablespoons white or red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2¼ pounds haddock fillets

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium nonreactive bowl, mix anchovies, shallots, mustard, thyme, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste, and stir to mix. Vigorously whisk in ¼ cup of oil, and set aside.

Brush a large baking pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Lay the fish in the pan skin side down, brush it with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and roast until opaque and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir the vinaigrette to re-blend, if necessary, and drizzle over the fish. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.

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