Monday, March 13, 2006

Margy Cooks! Striped Bass with Artichokes

The Asian market not too far from our house has the most beautiful fish, and today the striped bass looked best. Normally I might lobby for a red snapper, but their eyes were slightly clouded over while the bass looked like they wanted to leap off the ice and into our arms.

The dish is a Marcella Hazan recipe that Margy dusts off when she's really ready to rock. It's not for the faint hearted, or at least not for those who are afraid of getting speared a few times while cleaning artichokes. I stood around, making a sort of shrimp cocktail appetizer (I'd be foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity to buy a few heads-on shrimp), while Margy whittled four very expensive artichokes down to almost nothing.

It was worth it. Margy scattered the trimmed and sliced artichokes around and inside the bass, added a sprig of rosemary, and poured olive oil and lemon juice over it all. The fish was then baked in the oven. Some of the artichokes got browned and crispy, while others remained green and tender. And the artichokes and lemon gave the dish a pleasing acidity that worked nicely against the mild, slightly fatty bass. Before I washed the dishes, I was the guy who stood by the stove scraping the pan in search of burnt bits. Mmm!

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