Striped bass has a silvery skin with dark stripes. It’s a moderately fatty fish with a white firm flesh and a sweet flavour. You can also use red snapper or arctic char for this recipe.The yellow tomato sauce has a sweet and sour taste. It ‘s a twist on a classical cooking technique called gastrique. It sound scary but it’s just a reduction of caramelized sugar and vinegar to a syrupy consistency. Gastriques are often used in savoury dishes that use fruit, such as citrus or tomatoes.
Yellow Tomato Sauce
Basil Striped Bass
Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion. Carefully sauté onions, not letting the onions colour at all, about 3 minutes. Add the yellow and red tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the reserved tomato juice, pickled ginger, pickled ginger liquid, sugar, water, cider vinegar and salt. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.
Using a hand blender or table-top blender, puree the tomato mix and strain through sieve (perforated holes not mesh) into a small clean saucepan. Bring up to boil over high heat, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 4 minutes, until the colour has deepened and the sauce is thicker, about the consistency of apple sauce. Add the butter and swirl in pan just until butter begins to melt. Remove from heat. Keep warm.
Place the striped bass skin-side up on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, score 4 thin cuts on an angle, about ¼-inch deep into each fillet. Gently insert a small basil leaf into the cuts. Make sure to leave a little of the basil sticking out for presentation. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until shimmering. Place the fillets in the pan skin-side down. The skin of the fish should be crispy so let the fish cook without moving the pan, about 1½ minutes. Continue cooking the fish until the top edges turn opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully flip the fish over and cook for additional 2 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a small knife or toothpick. Remove from heat and start assembling the dish.
Spoon the tomato sauce evenly in the centre of four dinner plates. Place one fish fillet on each plate, skin-side up. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, and if you like pickled ginger slices. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings