"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Seared Sea Bass with Fresh Herbs and Lemon, Rosemary Focaccia

Dr. and Mrs. S. love three kinds of fish--swordfish, sole, and salmon. Little do they know that with my "cookbook project", more exciting fish experiences are coming their way! They had never had sea bass, but after last night I think I have to expand the "favorites" list. Sea Bass with Fresh Herbs and Lemon is very easy, if you don't mind chopping a lot of fresh herbs. And you do need fresh herbs, dried don't quite compare. Dr. S. was couldn't stop talking about how much he liked this dish, and I got to explain a little bit about sea bass and how it's made its way to our nation's tables through a clever name change (being originally called Patagonian Toothfish). There is some controversy about sea bass, so if you are an ecologically/politically sensitive diner, check it out.

The first time I ever tasted rosemary focaccia was when Gregg and I lived in Southwest Harbor, Maine more than ten years ago. Sawyer's Market sold it, and we just fell in love. We ate sheets of it. Something about the coarse sea salt, the olive oil and the rosemary...even the fact that the rosemary wasn't chopped somehow lent to its charm. One of the major disappointments of my early home cooking experiences was trying to reproduce that focaccia and failing. The recipe was too dense and coarse, not at all right!

This recipe for Rosemary Focaccia gets it right. Have you ever been in a position where you just couldn't stop putting something in your mouth because it tasted so good? And this recipe calls also for finely chopped rosemary, which is an improvement since whole rosemary needles tend to do unpleasant things in one's mouth.

And I've discovered one of my failings as a bread maker. Impatience. I tend to want to move the operation along before the risings have fully manifested. Even three minutes can make a difference! Yoda be with me....

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