How to make a great piece of fish

Once you know how to sear a piece of fish, it’s hard to have it any other way. It’s just so delicious. The first thing you need to figure out is how to buy your fish. Do not get it from just any old grocery store that happens to sell fish. You are looking for fresh fish, and if there isn’t somebody standing behind a counter ready to cut a piece of fish for you or talk fish to you, then keep walking, and find out where the fresh fish is hiding in your town. If it isn’t fresh, it’s not worth eating. The point is to enjoy your food (and your life). That may sound obvious, but I can’t believe how many people eat something just because they think they should or because it’s there. Kick that concept to the curb. Look for a whole fish that has clear eyes and red gills or if it’s already cut, it should have a beautiful sweet smell to it. It should never smell like fish. Try a little halibut. Yum. Buy a nice thick filet, and cut it into equal squares of about three inches. Heat up a heavy saute pan (iron is best) and when it’s hot, drizzle in your absolute best oil (would you wear cheap cologne on a date that meant something to you? And you’re going to tell me that you spend goodness knows on cologne and you won’t buy good olive oil? Shame.) Season one side of the fish with a little kosher salt, and then lay the fish away from you into the pan. I used to use quite a bit of salt on fish, but I feel that if the fish is fresh and delicious you can easily mask the flavor with too much salt. DO NOT TOUCH the fish until the edges are just going white. Carefully lift it from the pan with a flat metal spatula and flip it. Cook only until it’s done, which might be another minute on the other side. The worst fish is (old) over cooked fish. Immediately remove it to a plate. For the sauce, make a salsa verde by putting five stalks worth of parsely leaves, a few basil leaves (if you have them), a drizzle of your best oil, a squeeze of lemon, some salt, some pepper, a clove of garlic, and some fresh bread crumbs from leftover bread into your food processor. If you want to go crazy, you can add some capers and a smudge of dijon, or instead, a few green olives. Whir it up until it’s smooth and adjust the flavor. I like fresh thyme leaves in this too if you have them. Serve the fish with roasted yukon potatoes that you have shredded up and added a little salt and onion to, and some string beans with either garlic, shallots, or both. You could even add a little tomato to the string beans by heating the tomato up in olive oil that has garlic in it, and then cooking the greens beans in the tomato, but I always like them just steamed or boiled til just cooked with salt, olive oil and a clove of garlic at the end. Drink your favorite dry white with this. Wine is so good with fish.

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