Several years ago, by dear foodie friend (who will be known as Bobes from this point forth) hosted my brother and I for a summer dinner. At the time, Bobes and I had been obsessively scouting the Heart of the City Farmers Market for the summer’s finest produce, specifically stone fruits. Bobes had this idea to do a plum salsa over a white fish, and it was my job to bring the protein. When I got to his house empty handed (well, I had a nice bottle of Rose, natch), he said “did you forget to buy the fish??” – and I had. So I ran out to the store and picked up some Chilean Sea Bass, the only white fish that was available. My wallet was very angry with me, but the meal turned out to be spectacular so it was well-worth it. This week I attempted to recreate this dish from memory. I did a little improvising, but it turned out perfectly and just as delicious as I remember.
- 1 ripe red pluot, diced
- 1 ripe white plum, diced
- 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
- a few fresh mint leaves, chopped
- salt to taste
White Fish Marinade
- 1 TB white wine vinegar (I used some fancy Pinot Grigio vinegar)
- 1/2 TB olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper
Start by combining the ingredients for the marinade and whisking until oil and vinegar are one. Add to a small plastic bag with the sea bass and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the plum salsa. Combine all ingredients and toss to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes so flavors can meld.
I served the fish over a bed of red quinoa, which takes about 20 minutes to cook. Start your quinoa the same time you preheat the oven to 450. This should time out perfectly with the fish and quinoa being done at the same time.
Once the oven is preheated, remove the fish from the marinade and place in a baking pan lined with tin foil. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes and remove. Turn oven off and broiler on high. Place the pan into the broiler and cook for another 3-4 minutes to brown the top of the fish.
Plate the fish on top of the quinoa, then add the plum salsa on top of the fish. The sea bass will be somewhat flakey but still hold it’s form.
The combination of flavors and textures in this dish is what makes it so amazing. The softness of the plums contrasted with the graininess of the quinoa is a party in your mouth. And thankfully, I cooked the fish to perfection! I enjoyed the crisp outer texture of the fish thanks to the 4 minutes of broiling – which I never would have thought of without seeing the method on this recipe from Epicurious.com. Sea Bass can be quite expensive, so if you’re trying to save some money you can opt for Sablefish (also known as black cod), which has a similar texture and flavor and is available year round.
Naturally, I paired this meal with a 2011 Navarro Rose of Pinot Noir – my favorite California Rose. The sweetness of the plums brought out the slight acidity in the Rose, which paired well with the citrus flavors in the salsa and marinade. It was a perfect combination. I even had KD and Lactard taste the meal with the wine, and they agreed that the unexpected combination of flavors was a perfect marriage. This will definitely be a repeat dish, at least as long as stone fruits are in season.