Summer is in full swing and a July 4th jaunt from the North Fork of Long Island to the beloved Springs lent some inspiration. Knowing better than to show up as an empty handed houseguest and amorous of the tie-dye-colored carrots and local flora (sunflowers, herbs, radishes), I went on a shopping spree at the North Fork farmers markets, where prices are a fifth of those in the tony, traffic-mobbed Hamptons.
This is how I’ve been cooking fish lately, and it couldn’t be more simple, healthy or gorgeous, to the eye and on the tongue. It works with almost any whole fish (I used upstate trout when I was there and Montauk bass while on Long Island), and a variety of veggies can work too, such as fennel or radishes can fill in for the carrots; leafy greens like collard or chard would be great too, though no need to roast them before adding fish–just a quick sauté with olive oil and garlic on stovetop before adding the wine, fish, herbs and lemon.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 sea bass, or other whole white fish
1 bunch rainbow carrots, scrubbed in cold water but not peeled or topped
½ onion, sliced into semi circles
fresh ground mustard seed
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
flat leaf parsley
lemon, juice and peel
1 cup white wine
Heat oven to 450°. Lay carrots and onion slices in a roasting pan and pour 1/4 cup olive oil over them. Sprinkle sea salt flakes, za’atar, fresh ground cumin and mustard seed, Aleppo pepper, ginger and lemon zest over and roll carrots to distribute spices, etc. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes while preparing fish.
Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Drizzle interior and exterior in olive oil and rub gently to coat. Generously salt and pepper interior and exterior of fish. Lay basil leaves and lemon rounds in fish cavity.
Remove carrots from the oven and stir slightly. Pour 1 cup of white wine over carrots and onion slices. Add parsley stems, torn leaves and garlic. Lay fish over carrots and garnish fish with lemon rounds. I added a last dusting of spices because I like my flavors punchy. Cover pan with tinfoil and bake for 12-15 minutes or until fish meat is opaque. The juices from the fish will mix with the wine and spices creating a nice broth to spoon over top. Serve whole fish on platter surrounded by carrots and garnished with fresh herbs.
The next day, add aioli (homemade mayo + garlic), capers and parsley to cold fish leftovers for a lunch salad beside cold carrots.
All plate ware and beauty thanks to Ian & Emilie Irving (aka @_xenomania_), except the shot of Liz from Suddenly Last Summer. To leave a comment, please click here and scroll down to where it says “Leave a comment.”