Michael Schwartz is a firm believer that everything is better with bacon (or some kind of cured pork). That's why he sautés brussels sprouts in pancetta to make them rich and meaty, then serves them alongside striped bass simply pan-roasted with salt and pepper. A tangy lemon aioli completes the dish.
Healthy Fish Recipes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 3-ounce piece of pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
2 large thyme sprigs, plus 4 small sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Four 6- to 7-ounce wild striped bass or grouper fillets, with skin
Sweet paprika, for garnish
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until golden and some of the fat has been rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, cut sides down, and the large thyme sprigs. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until the brussels sprouts start to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the bottom third of the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, until the brussels sprouts are tender and browned all over; discard the thyme sprigs.
Meanwhile, in another large ovenproof skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Make 3 shallow slashes in the skin of each bass fillet to prevent curling. Season the bass with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn the fillets, transfer the skillet to the upper third of the oven and roast for about 4 minutes, until the fish is just white throughout.
Transfer the bass to plates, season lightly with paprika and garnish with the small thyme springs. Spoon the brussels sprouts alongside and serve right away with the garlic aioli.
The garlic aioli can be refrigerated overnight.
Most white fish goes better with white or rosé wines, but when you add pan-roasted brussels sprouts and pancetta into the equation, it's time to choose a wine with more heft. Oregon Pinot Noir's aromatic fruit and moderate tannins make it ideal with this striped bass.
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