Once you’ve had fish the old fashioned way, it’s hard to go back. It’s not about the recipe, but how and where the fish is caught. My friend Tom Britt is a regular suburban guy who happens to love catching fish. We’re talking serious fishing, right of the Jersey shore and up and down the mid-Atlantic coast for Tuna, Striped Bass and other biggies. You don’t have to be like Tom, out in the ocean catching dinner, but as home cooks, we can be picky about our fish. Tomato basil striped bass keeps it honest with local, seasonal ingredients such as Jersey tomatoes and basil allow for the bright, clean flavors to shine through. And that is cooking the old fashioned way.
Fresh fish test: Quit simply fish should smell like one thing: nothing. It is not rude to smell the fish before you buy it. After all, you are the customer.
Grilling vs. roasting: Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean fish always has to be cooked on the grill. Roasting fish in the oven is simple, quick and cooking all the ingredients together (fish, tomatoes and basil) keeps the fish moist and flavorful.
About cooking with wine: When wine is an ingredient, as it is in this recipe, treat it with all the respect and loving care as the fish and the rest of the ingredients. In other words, if it’s not good enough to drink, don’t put it in your recipe.
- 2-pound striped bass fillet (or another meaty white fish)
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup good white wine
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. Place striped bass in a 9 x 11 baking dish. Season with a touch of salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and white wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour tomato mixture over fish.
- Roast in the oven for 15 minutes until top is bubbly (note: It will be difficult to tell if the fish is cooked. Let it rest for 5 minutes so the juices can settle, then test it in the middle with a knife. If it’s not flakey, stick it back in the oven for a few more minutes).