i was going for bluefish because robin raved about it, but there was none to be had. not in nashville. so instead, i came home with pompano. and now, i love this fish. it’s mild and firm – almost snapper-like. and it broils and grills beautifully, maintaining a flakey texture. so, see what happens when you’re open to all the universe has to offer? you get fresh, sustainable fish – and all good things.
and buddhist philosophy meets quantum physics? priceless…
whole foods had the whole fish on ice. and since it comes from the floridian gulf, not too far from here, well, it seemed the thing to do in light of the no bluefish scenario. the pompano, just in that day, was filleted for me on the spot, and i asked for the head and skeleton in a separate bag for a future fish fume.
this dish was found on caviar and codfish – and it drew me in. just a basic super hot broil with a compound butter. so, ok – compound butter. let’s talk about this…
actually, ruhlman gives us the quintessential and (as one has grown to expect from him) most eloquent rundown on compound butter right here. i strongly suggest that you have a look as it gives you insight to the classic options.
i ran with the combination that robin used because it sounded heavenly and i had everything i needed in my kitchen. so i left my butter (i use danish lurpak) out on the counter to soften, and then using a fork mixed in some finely diced parsley and minced garlic, meyer lemon zest, salt and pepper – and basil. the basil from my freezer. can i tell you about this? because i quite liked it.
i get a lot of requests to review products and books and i often refuse because i know the product is a bad match for me. but an email came from daregal asking me to try their frozen herbs and being that i’m not much for gardening or running to the market for one ingredient, as in basil for a compond butter – i was intrigued. so a box was shipped overnight and in it came about 8 containers of both individual frozen herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano) and a few of their blends. when you shake the containers you can hear that everything is loose, not frozen together in a cube like the trader joe’s herbs that you may have seen. you just open the top and shake out what you need. daregal says that all their herbs are processed within 3 hours of being harvested. so they’re picked, washed, chopped, misted lightly with a vegetable oil to prevent sticking and then flash frozen. they are supposed to last for up to 3 years in your freezer. strangely, both a scary and a handy thought.
anyway, i’ve got my 8 containers lined up in a row in the door of my freezer and i’ll be using them here and there, and then i’ll be reporting back. you can count on me. yes you can. but only because I CARE.
but first and foremost, i can assure you that the flavor was all there. obviously this isn’t a substitute for the fresh basil leaves on a caprese sandwich – but it was perfect for this application. bottom line is dried basil is a joke. probably the biggest rip-off in the food world along with dried parsley. but this product actually retains it’s basillyness. (basillyness?)
i set my oven to a high broil and moved the shelf up close to the element. then i heated a cast iron skillet on my stove until it was smoking hot. into that went some of the compound butter and then the well dried fish, skin side down with more butter set on top – and then under the broiler for a few minutes – then out to baste and check for doneness, and then back under just briefly. in the meantime, some salted water had been boiled and green beans thrown in. those took about 4 minutes to decrisp and become tender and everything was ready at the same time.
i’ll be broiling fish a lot more now. i’ve been won over. it was absolutely perfect.
same dish, much less butter. as in, my plate.
still good. not as. oh well.