About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Sablefish in Tomato Broth with Amaranth Greens

This turned out to be a great use for some very ripe and soft tomatoes that were sitting on the kitchen counter. The broth can be made well in advance and refrigerated or frozen. The final dish goes together fairly quickly if the greens are cleaned and ready to go. Baby spinach can be substituted for the amaranth greens. The tangy tomato broth is a nice foil for the rich sablefish (aka black cod or butterfish). Halibut would make a good substitute for the sablefish.

Tomato broth:
2 carrots, about 4 oz., sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic or more to taste, crushed
2 lb very ripe tomatoes, cut in chunks or 1 quart canned tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 large bay leaf
8 or 10 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
1 dried mild New Mexico type chile, seeds removed
A large pinch of saffron
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

The fish and greens:
Sablefish filets, skinless, cut into serving sizes
Olive oil, a tablespoon or two
1 large shallot, finely chopped
12 oz. fresh green amaranth leaves or baby spinach
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Chopped fresh cilantro

Make the tomato broth:

Sweat the onions, carrots, and celery in a couple tablespoons of olive oil with a large pinch of salt over medium low heat in a heavy pot, covered, until they release some juices and begin to soften. Add the crushed garlic and continue to saute with the pot uncovered a few more minutes, until the juices evaporate. Add the tomatoes, wine, stock, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, bay leaf, parsley, pepper, and saffron to the pot, cover the pot and bring the contents to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Strain the contents through a fine mesh seive, pressing on the vegetables to extract all the liquid but don't force the solids through the mesh. Discard the solids and set the broth aside. The broth can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. The recipe makes more than is needed to cook the fish.

Prepare the fish and greens:

Put 4 bowls in a 180°F oven to warm while you prepare the greens and fish.

Put about 3 cups of the tomato broth into a 12-inch skillet or whatever size skillet that will comfortably hold the fish filets, use enough broth so that the filets will be barely immersed. Bring the broth to a strong simmer. Taste for salt, add a generous grind of black pepper and adjust the flavor with lemon juice if the broth tastes sweet, you want a little bit of tang but not too sour, a tablespoon or so of lemon juice may be enough.

While the broth is heating, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a 10-inch saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots to the pan with a large pinch of salt and stir until they soften, then add the greens to the pan and toss, using tongs, until the greens are wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

When the greens are done, place the fish filets in the hot broth, the largest pieces first and poach them over low heat for a few minutes, not allowing the broth to come to a boil, until the fish is just done and starts to flake but not fall apart. Turn the heat off and assemble the bowls.

Place 1/4 of the greens in each bowl, arrange cherry tomato halves around the perimeter of each bowl. Place the fish filets on top of the greens and add broth to fill the bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

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