Belated St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Every year, as I have mentioned before, we have a Valentine’s Day Feast. I really make this for my sweetie, but since we have the two nippers as well, and they have to be fed, they get to participate in what can only be described as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The photo you are about to see is a ‘before’ shot. To spare those of a sensitive nature, we will not show you the scene afterward…

Valentine's Day steamed striped bass on a bed of broccoli rabe copyright Owen Linderholm 2005
Click below for more…This time, when I was at the store, planning to get the usual pile’o’Dungeness Crab, I thought that the crab looked rather old and dry (I confess – I do not have the time during the week to deal with the live beasties, so I buy precooked, but NOT cleaned – you need the innards for the sauce.) So, my sparkling eye caught the sparkling eye of the large striped bass and it was love at first sight. I had my finny friend scaled and cleaned but that was all. This was my first and only mistake. The aforementioned animal-loving nippers forced me to remove and discard the head as soon as I got it home anyway.

I was further challenged by the need to have dinner on the table in 45 minutes from when I got home. So I had to spring into action. I filled a big pot with water already warm from the tap (having personally installed at some point in time every inch of the water’s pathway between cold water supply and the tap, I know it is good drinking water and since it starts out as Sierra mountain snowmelt, it really doesn’t get any better than that – New York water – phah!). Water on, I diced up a big pile of garlic and chopped up two bunches of scallions and then cleaned the broccoli rabe.
Next to make the garlic sesame sauce for the noodles. Toast the chopped garlic in some oil, add three tablespoons of sesame seeds, stir and take off the heat. Add lots of soy sauce, fish sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice, a tablespoon of sugar, reheat and cook down slightly, then set aside. Now in a very large pan (sixteen inches across, four inches deep, stir fry the white part of the scallions with the rest of the garlic and some chilli flakes. When it is getting translucent, add three cups of white wine and some more soy sauce, then add the rest of the scallions and lay the fish on top. Cover and cook for ten minutes. Gently lift up, add the broccoli rabe, and put the fish back the other side up and cover and cook for another ten minutes. At this point, add the vermicelli noodles to the pot of boiling water and keep a close eye to drain them at three minutes. Drain the noodles and immediately toss with the sesame garlic sauce and lay them down as a bed in your biggest serving dish. After the ten minutes are up, check the fish – it may need more time – ours did. At this point, remove the broccoli and lay it down both sides of the noodles, leaving the center for the fish. I didn’t do this and instead left the broccoli in with the fish, so we had overcooked broccoli. Once the fish is done through – it may take another ten minutes – lay it in pride of place in the center, serve with a lovely crisp white wine (NOT a chardonnay) for the grown ups and apple juice with sparkling water for the kids. Step back quickly so you don’t get mowed down in the crossfire…

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