Like most people, I prefer fresh fish to be cooked as simply as possible: quickly grilled with a dollop of olive oil and salt and pepper. Covering up the subtle taste of fish in a thick sauce is no way to respect our finned friend. Unless you are a fisherman or are dating a fish monger, it is unlikely that you will be fortunate enough to find a “fresh” fish to grill. Furthermore, the lingering smell of cooked fish in an apartment complex is roughly equivalent to mildewed workout clothes in a gym bag.
When our mercury levels are low, we will occasionally opt for seared tuna or swordfish, but – for the most part – we prefer to eat grilled or raw fish at a restaurant, preferably Japanese. As reported earlier, buying fish from a supermarket is courting hepatitis or worse and should be avoided. As such, I was not particularly thrilled to learn that Mamacita had bought some Branzino that was on sale at Whole Foods supermarket. (Editor’s Note: There is a reason why the stock price of Whole Foods is down over 30% this year).
Rather than subject me to the painful task of carbon-dating the age of the “fresh” fish, Mamacita had the good sense to bake the fish in a lovely mustard sauce. The recipe is from Ina Garten’s cookbook, Back to Basics.
Barefoot Contessa’s Mustard-Roasted Fish
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 ounces crème fraiche
- 3 Tbs Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs whole-grain mustard
- 2 Tbs minced shallots
- 2 tsp drained capers
- Preheat oven to 425º
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (ovenproof baking dish is OK). Place the fillets skin down on the sheet pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Combine the crème fraiche, the two mustards, shallots, capers, 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure that the fillets are entirely covered.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes defending on thickness, until the fish is barely done.
- Serve at room temperature with sauce from the pan over the top.
Frankly, I enjoyed it.