February 17, 2010

Guest Post: Tara's Nice Bass!!!

Lindsey's note: Here is a wonderful recipe that my friend Tara made for her boyfriend Eli last night for a belated Valentine's Day dinner. If you are looking for a recipe to impress, this would be it! Tara is much more ambitious and brave than I am when it comes to cooking...I would have taken one look at this and ran screaming in the other direction. Usually if I haven't ever heard of or can't pronounce more than two ingredients in a recipe I cry and give up, but she persevered and the results were amazing! If you live in a small town, you probably will need to plan ahead and order the black rice and farro online, and possibly order the fish from your local grocery store (if they do that sort of thing). Please make this for someone you love - it will be worth it! 

The following recipe was adapted by Tara from: Zen Can Cook.

Bass with farro, black rice, baby spinach and tangerine:
-Fish (I used one sea bass fillet, I know they are over fished, but it was already dead, couldn’t let it go to waste and because it tastes to goooood. Nice justification right? The recipe called for striped bass, but I couldn’t find any here. Halibut, cod, mahi, salmon would be good, but I think trout would be spectacular.) So this recipe feeds 8 or probably 6 hungry people, choose number of fillets accordingly.  Remove the skin.
4 tangerines
1 T thyme
2 T olive oil
2 T parsley, chopped
1 t sugar
4 T butter unsalted
salt and pepper to taste

-Farro, black rice, green garlic & spinach
6 T olive oil
1 C onion, chopped
2 chile de arbol chopped (I couldn’t find this pepper, use something with a little heat, but not burn your face off hot.)
3/4 white wine
1 T thyme
1/2 C green garlic, sliced (I used ¼ C of elephant garlic instead)
8 OZ baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C black rice (The whole foods grocery store has this usually in a pre-packaged bag. Not in the bulk section. Very high in fiber, amino acids and iron and has a deep nutty taste. It was referred to as the forbidden rice. Ohlalala.)
1 1/2 C Farro (This may be harder to find, but it’s worth it if you can find it. Buy it online or order it from your grocery store. In a pinch you could probably substitute barley or spelt. It is an Italian grain from which all grains have descended. It has a firm texture and nutty flavor.)

Marinate the fish -
Zest the tangerines in a zip lock bag and combine with the 1 T of thyme and 2 T parsley. Throw the fish in and let it soak up the zest herb mix for at least 4 hours. I marinated for 24 hours.

Black Rice-
I used Gina’s wild rice recipe for this the night before. Lindsey's note: our friend Gina has taught us a fantastic wild rice recipe, which Tara duplicated for the black rice...I think it goes something like this: preheat the oven to 500 degrees, put washed rice, water and optional chicken bouillon in casserole dish. Cover, put in oven then turn oven off and let it sit overnight (without peaking or opening the door!). Usually it is one part rice to three parts water (example: 1 cup of uncooked rice, 3 cups water), and then I use one cube of bouillon for each cup of water used.

I bought the Farro from Saras table. The chef told me I didn’t have to soak it, but some packages say you need to depending on the quality of the rice. He suggested I make it somewhat like risotto. Sure thing chef! In a medium pan I added the 2 T of olive oil and sauteed the chopped onion and chili until translucent. I dumped the rice in with the garlic to combine the flavors for about one minute. Pour the golden elixir, I mean wine, in and let the farro soak that all up. I kept stirring and adding more water and simmering it down until the farro was cooked. I think I added about 5 c of water in all.

Rice and Spinach
Combine the black rice and farro. (Since I made the black rice the night before I just used the same pan.) Dump the spinach in and add the rest of the olive oil 4 T. The spinach should wilt. I added about ¼ C of wine as well so the rice didn’t burn.  Keep warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

The Tangerine Syrup-
Juice 3 tangerines into a sauce pan and add the 1 t of sugar. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer and reduce until syrupy.  Then whisk in 4 T of butter.  Don’t make my mistake, use unsalted butter for this.  Keep warm.

Tangerine Slices-
Cut the remaining tangerine into slices without the rind.

The Fish-
Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a pan over medium high heat, add the 2 T of olive oil and when hot (not smoldering) lay the fish in the pan with the marinate. Each side of my fillet took about 4 minutes. It is easy to overcook so don’t be running off multi-tasking right now.

The grand finale-
Plop some farro, black rice, spinach mixture on each plate. Top with the fish. Spoon some syrup over the fish about 1 T.  Then place a couple of tangerine slices on the side. 

PS. I also made 2 king crab legs and placed the meat on top of the fish, totally unnecessary, but hey it was a valentines dinner…Eli cried it was so good.
(pretend there are tangerine slices in the picture below)

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