| ||3 Fish You've Probably Never Cooked at Home, and Why You Should!|
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|Fish is one food group that most people don’t cook at home very often. And it’s a bit of a mystery as to why, especially if you purchased filleted fish. They’re tender, succulent, easy to prepare, easy to cook and delicious!|
Now you’ll hear stories of the fish “smell” in the kitchen or some fictitious mess (that never really seems to happen) but honestly, if you buy fresh fish, and fresh fillets (which we have at Nino’s), fish are no more bother than beef, pork, chicken or countless other foods we could mention.
In fact, if you buy a whole fish, and have us dress & fillet it to your order, you’re even more likely to enjoy the fresh, sweet & savory flavor of each bite.
Three fish that we bring in “whole” to our markets at Nino’s are particularly delicious and they’re probably ones you never have tried. So we thought you might want to know a little more about them. Each has a unique flavor and texture all their own and are very popular in many parts of the country as well as countries outside the U.S.
Besides tasting great, they also have some additional health AND ecological benefits. Not a bad combination.
Of course, we’re all creatures of habit, we often stick with what we like, not even knowing that we might like something else equally as well (or maybe even more)…so, among our many popular fish like Salmon, Orange Roughy, Cod, Whitefish, Perch, Trout and even Halibut, these 3 fish never seem to get their share of your plate….or palate.
Our three choices for your dining consideration are all ocean fish, all from the Atlantic or Mediterranean Sea area:
• Bronzini, also known as Mediterranean Sea Bass or Branzini, is similar in size and preparation techniques to an average trout. It is commonly available weighing from 2 to 3 pounds in size. This fish can be easily prepared using olive oil and seasonings such as garlic, various herbs, sea salt and pepper to be roasted in an oven, on a stovetop or grilled. It has a semi-firm, sweet, white flesh with a flavor reminiscent of red snapper. And now… the GOOD NEWS!
As we are hearing more and more about lately, the health benefit from fish is derived from the concentration of Omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 has been shown to reduce your risk for coronary heart disease. As a result, Americans have been buying large quantities of fish. But not all fish have Omega-3 fatty acids and some that do, only have a fair amount. At the top of the list? Bronzini, Salmon and Trout.
• Mackerel, a relative of the Tuna, is a darker flesh fish, with an oil content which makes it an excellent choice for roasting and grilling or pan-frying.
The GOOD NEWS? Beyond Mackerel’s great taste, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Sustainable Fishing and Ecological friendly fishing practices, The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program has chosen Mackerel as a “Best Choice” for consumers. Their studies indicate that it’s a well-managed and highly resilient species which makes Atlantic Mackerel from Canada caught with purse seines, a "Best Choice" and U.S. Atlantic Mackerel caught with mid-water trawls a "Good Alternative" because of possible impacts to seafloor habitats.
• Striped Bass “Farm Raised” is not only an important piece in the global supply chain but it can also provide benefits not easily obtained in wild caught fish. In the case of Striped Bass, they are generally raised in ponds or tanks and located inland, so ocean pollution from discharge of wastewater and PCB’s are not a factor as was the case in their native Chesapeake Bay and tributary nursery grounds.
Thankfully, through conservation efforts to improve water quality and conditions, the Striped Bass have rebounded to record levels and are now ALSO on the Seafood Watch’s “Best Choice” list.
Besides being the State Fish of Maryland, Rhode Island and South Carolina, Striped Bass have many other credentials. They’re native to nearly the entire U.S. East Coast (migrating between salt and fresh water) important commercial industry, and one of America’s most sought after sport fish, challenging anglers from all over the world who prize both their tenacity and their delicious taste.
The GOOD NEWS? Besides everything you’ve just read above, Striped Bass is a nutritious fish that is low in calories, but high in protein. A 3-oz. serving contains 80 calories, 15 g of protein and less than 2 g of fat. Most of the fats in Striped Bass are healthy unsaturated ones, and it contains less than 0.5 g of unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol. Striped Bass, like Bronzini contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote heart health.
The meat of a Striped Bass is somewhat a cross between flaky and meaty, meaning its texture lies somewhere between cod or sole and swordfish or tuna. Its taste, like most fish, varies depending on where it was caught and what it was eating but in general, this white fleshed fish is rich, sweet and (not fishy) to use an old phrase.
Above all, “Stripers” are versatile. No matter how you like to cook fish, from batter frying, pan-frying, roasting, smoking, poaching in “court boullion” or (you name it), Striped Bass can easily handle any preparation you choose.
Want to give these 3 great fish a taste? Here’s a simple recipe for each to get you started.
Pan Roasted Bronzini with Nino’s Palomino Sauce
1 Whole Branzini (about 1 ½ Lbs.)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Freshly Grated
½ Ea. Lemon, Sliced
2 sprigs Fresh Italian Parsley
2 TBSP Fresh Italian Parsley (Chopped)
½ Cup Nino’s Fresh Made Palomino Sauce
1. Rinse whole Bronzini, pat dry, lightly rub with 1 TBSP olive oil and place on a lightly oiled baking pan.
2. Brush fish inside and out with 1 TBSP olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity of each fish with 2 or 3 lemon slices and 2 parsley sprigs.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 5 minutes. Turn fish over; cook 5 more minutes.
4. Turn oven to broil, and cook fish 3 to 5 minutes or until skin blisters and fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fish from oven, and transfer to serving plate.
5. Drizzle with olive oil, and serve with Nino’s fresh Palomino Sauce napped over the top and garnished with freshly chopped Italian Parsley.
Pan Seared Mackerel Fillets with Neuvo Gremolata
1 Medium Mackerel, Fillets & Pin-Boned at Nino’s
1 TBSP Olive Oil
½ tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
¼ tsp Black Pepper, Freshly Ground
For Neuvo Gremolata & Topping:
1 Lemon Peel Only, Minced
1 TBSP Fresh, Lemon Juice
2 TBSP Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
2 TBSP Italian Parsley, Chopped
1 TBSP Sun-Dried Tomato (Oil Packed), chopped
¼ Cup Salvaggio’s Italian Bread Crumbs
2 TBSP Salted Butter
1. Prepare Gremolata base first, by combining the minced lemon peel with the garlic, parsley and sun-dried tomato.
2. Whisk in the lemon juice and 2 TBSP olive oil to make a sort of dressing.
3. In a small non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter then add the Italian bread crumbs. Saute until the bread crumbs are lightly toasted. Cool and reserve.
4. Heat a medium size, non-stick sauté pan on medium-high heat.
5. Brush Mackerel fillets with 1 TBSP olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.
6. Pan sear the mackerel fillets, starting skin side down, for approximately 3 minutes then turn over and cook once again for approximately 3 minutes. The fish flesh should be firm and opaque.
7. Remove cooked fillets to a serving plate and top each with a generous teaspoon of the Gremolata dressing mixture then sprinkle a generous 1 to 2 tablespoons of the toasted Italian bread crumbs over that.
Super Simple Grilled Striped Bass with Quick Basil Aioli Sauce
1 Medium Striped Bass (Filleted) or 2 Fillets
As Needed Non-Stick Vegetable Spray
½ tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
¼ tsp Black Pepper, Freshly Ground
For Aioli Style Sauce:
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
1 – 2 TBSP Basil Pesto (Cibo Naturals)
2 TBSP Sour Cream
1 tsp Lemon Juice
Pinch Salt & Pepper
1. Pre-heat a George Forman® style electric griddle on medium high.
2. Lightly spray each Striped Bass fillet on each side with non-stick vegetable spray then season with salt and pepper.
3. Open griddle, place fillets side by side and close.
4. While fish is cooking, whisk together all Aoili Sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
5. The fish, depending on fillet thickness, will take approximately 3 to 5 minutes to fully cook through. Check doneness by opening the griddle and testing the flesh for firmness, opaqueness and ability to flake when gently separated with a fork.
6. Remove fillets from griddle and place on a serving plate.
7. Top with approximately 2 TBSP of the Basil Aioli in a band across each fillet.