8 medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise and seeded
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
Eight 6-ounce striped bass fillets
Freshly ground pepper
20 dill sprigs, tough stems discarded
20 cilantro sprigs
20 large basil leaves, preferably Holy basil (see Note)
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 300°. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with a large pinch of salt and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and fish sauce and stir-fry over moderate heat until soft, about 10 minutes.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Add 4 of the fillets to the skillet, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the fish is opaque all the way through, about 1 minute. Transfer the fish, skin side up, to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining fillets.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the dill, cilantro and basil and stir-fry over high heat until barely wilted, about 1 minute. Mound the tomatoes on plates and set the fish fillets on top. Garnish with the herbs and serve at once.
The cooked tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before serving.
Holy basil can be found at Asian groceries.
Mild white fish pairs well with a light white wine, but the tomatoes require a bottling with richness. A mildly fruity Chablis is a good choice.
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