I’m sure many of you can empathize with the fact that I have been feeling so uninspired by my recipes lately. I have been going through a serious creative rut, and it has been so hard to get out of! Sometimes I try to force it out by going to the grocery store with no plan, and just choosing ingredients that call out to me, and that usually works. This time however, it was a little different. My boyfriend called me yesterday morning at work and said, “You know Lizzy, you really haven’t blogged in a while and I miss it.” The feelings that poured out of me were disappointment and sadness, because I just haven’t felt creative lately. The good news is – I think this dish may have turned it all around for me!
I know so many of my blogger/cook/chef friends can relate to my feelings in this post, but home cooks as well. Sometimes when we let stress get the better of us, or just a busy schedule, it can be so hard to pull that inventive quality out of us when it comes to cooking. My best advice is, try to find some sort of inspiration in a seasonal or favorite ingredient that you find, and let yourself have fun with the dish!
When Albert told me he was going to pick up salmon to cure gravlax, I asked him to pick me up some Chilean sea bass so I could experiment with poaching the fish, which I had been thinking about doing for some time. I don’t know why saffron popped out into my head but it did, so I immediately began to search for saffron broth recipes, and came up with a sort of Spanish style dish – saffron and tomato broth poached sea bass – and it worked out beautifully! I can’t even describe how amazing this dish tasted – the flavor of the saffron, combined with the sweetness of the tomato broth, it was heavenly.
This turned out being the best fish recipe I think I have ever made – the flavors went together more perfectly than I could have ever imagined. I don’t really know how to explain the flavor of saffron but here is my best try – I would say it has a very subtle flavor, floral, honey-like, almost sweet but also earthy. It can be rather expensive, because it is an extremely labor-intensive crop, but it is definitely worth the cost. Also, a little will go a long way – two pinches will be all you need in this dish to achieve the beautiful flavor.
I would definitely make some rice to go with this dish (saffron and rice are a classic flavor combination). Another tip is, instead of using store bought chicken stock make your own or, use this demi-glace (which you can find at most grocery stores). I find that using demi-glace or homemade chicken stock makes a HUGE difference in the taste.
- 1 lb. Chilean sea bass (or similar flaky fish like cod)
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1¼ cup chicken stock
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Dill, to garnish
- Heat oil in a medium skillet with high sides. Add in garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until fragrant, not browned. Add in tomatoes, cook for another minute, and then add the wine, bay leaves, stock, saffron, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher, until they are no longer chunky. Simmer the broth on medium heat for about 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Season the sea bass with salt and pepper on both sides, and then place gently into the pot. Reduce heat to a lighter simmer, and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, until you can easily slide a knife through the fish.
- Gently transfer the sea bass to a shallow bowl, and cover with the poaching broth. Garnish with dill and additional saffron if desired.