Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Catch That Keeps on Giving

The best thing about the hubby catching a striped bass is free food. You saw the size of that fish, right? If not scroll down. It’s huge – and much too big for one dinner. The same night I fileted the fish, I saved enough for dinner the following night and then I cut up the rest into serving size pieces and wrapped each individually with Saran wrap and then put them in a freezer bag and tucked them in the freezer.

Meal number two was a Mediterranean style fish stew that was totally yummy and the best part is we still have more fish in the freezer. I’m so taken with this idea of free (and scrumptious) food that I pretty much pester Steve daily about when he’s going back out fishing. He’s hoping for Sunday because the tides will be perfect at sunset once again.

I’m also pushing to get a shellfish license so we can go clamming. We tried this once with no success (aside from razor clams, which are actually very sweet and tender and make a nice chowder), but I’m ever hopeful we can figure this out and hit the payload of real clams if we ever find the time to go digging on the beach.

Steve has also added a new kitchen tool to our collection. He helped out at our church yard sale last week and came home with this:

“Isn’t it cool?” He fingered the blade like the cackling witch who left bobby pins flying in one of my favorite Bugs Bunny episodes.

“Feel it. It’s really sharp," he said.

I gingerly ran my finger over the blade and it was indeed sharp – alarmingly so. It looked more like an instrument of murder than a useful item for our kitchen. “So, what would we do with that?" I asked.

“We could use it to chop the heads off fish. Or cut up a sheep,” he said.

Cut up a sheep? Like we are ever going to do that in our lifetime? (I might have laughed.)

“Or we could just hang it on the wall. It looks like an antique.”

Much better, except we haven’t actually hung it up, so it remains an ominous presence on our counter. Of course our 12-year old son, Tommy, was immediately attracted to the cleaver. I’m pretty sure that boy has never even noticed we own a coffee maker or a can opener, but the cleaver – oh yeah. He was right on it and held it up in a menacing way.

“Can I have this for my room?” he asked, fingering the blade. (Is this genetic, or just guys???)

My response: “Put that down! Right now!”

“But it would look so cool hanging on my wall.” He then rummaged through the junk drawer and found a much, much smaller cleaver. (Apparently he does know his way around the lesser used, more eclectic kitchen implements.) “Can I have this one?”

Uh, no. Around this time our 15-year old daughter, Julie, came into the kitchen and picked up the offending cleaver. She and Tommy proceeded to clash "swords" with the big and small cleavers.

If you look close at the smaller cleaver, those shiny spots are from the battle of siblings in the kitchen. Mystery solved: it’s genetic – and not from me…

The Recipe:

Mediterranean Style Striped Bass

4 serving size filets of striped bass
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced on the bias
1 fennel bulb, frond and root cut off, then slice the bulb
25 grape tomatoes
25 calamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup vegetable or fish stock
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in heavy pan with metal or oven proof handle. Add onion and fennel and sauté until just slightly soft. Nestle fish filets into the pan and add olives, grape tomatoes, stock, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat until liquid begins to boil and then put in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish is flaky. Divide ingredients into four wide soup bowls and pour broth over each. Serve with crusty bread to dip in broth.

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