There are times when what I want to eat is something I have never tasted before.
Easy enough at a restaurant, not so simple when I am chef. But there on my wonderful local fishmonger's ice covered counter is something new labeled "stone bass." "A meaty, well flavoured fish," I am told. "Very popular in Spain." That did it. I would find a recipe in Penelope Casas' "!,000 Spanish Recipes." and dinner tonight would be an adventure.
Except when I search through the index there is no listing for "stone bass", undoubtedly as Penelope's books are written and published in America - maybe no stone bass available there? I switch to plain "bass" and on page 368 is "Lubina Rellens" or Striped Bass with Mushrooms. Looks delish. I'll do it. With some alterations to fit my fish and that there are only two of us eating tonight, not 4 (sorry Penny).
ALL YOU NEED: recipe adjusted to feed 2 using stone bass
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped large garlic clove
1/3 lb finely chopped mushrooms
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/8 teaspoon ground paprika
2 bass filets (or similar firm fleshed white fish - I used stone bass filets here)
Heat oil in small frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more. Add bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, half of the lemon juice, sherry and paprika. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an oven dish with oil and spread the mushroom mixture in a smooth layer to fit under the fish filets. Cover with fish. Sprinkle with remaining lemon juice and season with salt. Bake about 30 minutes or until the fish flakes when pierced with a fork.
NOTE: the original recipe calls for 1 whole fish per person, striped bass or similar, about 3/4 lb each, cleaned, boned, with the head on. The mushroom mixture is used to fill the cavity of each fish, which is then sewed up before baking. Perfection, I am sure, and a more exciting presentation.