My brother sat down at the dinner table this evening only to freak out at what I was serving. “What the hell did youdo to the broccoli?” My mom and I told him it wasn’t broccoli. “Then what the hell did you do to the cauliflower?” So articulate for a twenty-six year old. I had no idea until about six months ago that cauliflower comes in orange and purple varieties, so his reaction wasn’t too unexpected. The odd thing about purple cauliflower is that you’d expect it to taste different–maybe a little sweeter or perhaps a little bitter. Nope, tastes exactly the same. The only difference is its color and the fact that it turns any water you steam it in bright blue. That was kind of gross.
Blue water may be gross, but colorful food isgood. I find that when my food is more colorful, the better it tastes and the more I want to eat it. Ugly food? Not so appetizing–even if I know it’s just ugly because the portabella mushrooms turned it brown (my barley was dull-looking). I know I’m not the only one who won’t eat something simply because it looks kind of unattractive. Putting aside the psychological impacts of color, you should strive for color in your dishes because all of the good, healthy, nutritious stuff is colorful. Red fruits and vegetables? Depending on what it is, these contain lycopene and anthocyanin, which are good for your heart and fighting cancer. Yellow and orange are eye-loving and tend to be filled with beta-carotine and/or vitamins C and B. Blue and purple are all about the antioxidents, while white (including garlic!) contain anthoxanthins and potassium. Anthoxanthins? Those babies lower cholosterol and blood pressure. And if there’s anything a lawyer needs, it’s something to lower her blood pressure. This may be why I am so obsessed with fresh garlic.
Let’s quickly talk sea bass before I tell you a funny story. Sea bass is my favorite fish. It just has this amazing flavor and texture. It’s almost buttery, if that makes any sense. I think all sea bass should be seasoned liberally with salt and pepper, pan-seared in a little olive oil until just cooked, and served without lemon. Any sort of sauce should compliment it, but not take over its flavor. So that’s what I did. And guess what? My fish-hating mother enjoyed it! We can usually only get her to eat tilapia because it’s a very mild fish, but sea bass now trumps tilapia! You have no idea how exciting this is. It’s one less fish dinner that requires me to make her something separate. And while I shouldn’t complain about that because I required the same for years (and still do sometimes), it really is obnoxious. So score one for fish and another for my sanity! And no, this isn’t Chilean sea bass and I’m sorry about all of the uncharacteristic exclamation points. It’s not like me to be so…perky.
Now, for funny story time. So I’m slaving away in the kitchen trying to get dinner made while my cousin feeds her fourteen-month-old twins at the table. They’re dropping and throwing these weird vegetable sticks and teething biscuits onto the floor for the same reasons most little kids do. Angel, my dog, thought that this was so awesome that she went to go sit in the corner by one of the boys. Was she ever the smart puppy: he started taking his food andputting it directly in her mouth. The best part of the whole ordeal is that she refused to eat the green sticks, but not the red and yellow.
Before I let you go, I’d like to point out that I added that Google Friend Connect thingy over in the sidebar for those of you who prefer that method ofstalking following me.
Pan-Seared Sea Bass
in a Marsala Sauce*
4 4-5 oz sea bass fillets
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
15 oz flavorful mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
freshly ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 450F.
1. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil to medium in a pan and add garlic, onions and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are nearing tender.
2. Turn heat to high and pour in wine. Quickly scrape off any brown bits with the wine. Let some of the wine cook off.
3. Turn down heat to medium. Add in chicken stock, salt and pepper. Allow to cook until mushrooms are tender and liquid has reduced into a slightly thicker sauce. It should coat a spoon. Cover and set aside.
4. In an oven proof pan, heat olive oil until just before smoking point. The amount depends on your pan and the quantity of fish you use–you don’t want to fry your fish, merely sear it, so don’t put so much in that when you add the fish, it will rise to 1/2 an inch. Mine rose to maybe 1/8 of an inch.
5. Pat your fish dry on both sides. Liberally salt and pepper both sides.
6. Carefully place your fish in the pan. To avoid splatter, lay it down away from you, meaning the side closest to you gets set down, the side further away from you gets dropped.
7. Sear for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Flip over for another few minutes until golden brown. Then transfer to oven for 3-4 minutes until cooked through.
8. Dish out sauce and place the fish in the middle. Serve with some steamed vegetables–preferably tossed in rosemary.
*Recipe adapted (read: made healthier) fromhere.