- 1 whole striped bass, cleaned and scaled (about 1 and ½ pounds)
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, rinsed and scrubbed, cored, and julienned with fronds reserved
- 1 Maui sweet onion, julienned
- 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch coins
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves chiffonade
- zest of 1 lemon, chopped very fine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup white wine
- 4 ¼-inch slices lemon, seeded
- 3 large fresh basil leaves
- sea salt
- freshly grounded black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. When butter stops foaming, add fennel, onion, and carrots. Cook 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, basil chiffonade, lemon zest. Cook 2 minutes. Add white wine, increase heat until mixture boils, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Line a rectangular glass baking dish long enough to hold fish with aluminum foil. Cut 2 24-inch long by 12-inch wide rectangles of aluminum foil. Lay both over baking dish, shiny side up. Add vegetable mix to top layer of foil. Rinse fish thoroughly. Season exterior and interior with salt and pepper. Stuff interior with lemon slices, reserved fennel fronds, and basil leaves. Fold top layer of foil over fish to form a pouch and crimp sides tightly. Repeat with lower layer of foil.
Bake at 425° for 25 minutes. Transfer fish, vegetables and sauce to a large warm platter and serve.
Serve with Le Risotto aux Tomates et au Safran (i.e., Tomato Risotto with Saffron). You can cheat by using Alessi Pomodori Risotto, which I find quite agreeable.
A crisp white wine without a lot of oak would do nicely. I poured a 2007 Le Cigare Blanc, a Rhone-style blend of roussanne and grenache blanc from Bonny Doon Vineyards. Lots of white stone fruit and melon flavors, with good acidity made it a nice match.