Taste of the Town: Butter Basted Sea Bass & Strawberry Gin Recipe

On the latest episode of Taste of the Town, Marjorie chefs up a mouth-watering butter-based sea bass. She pairs with a spring salad with a homemade citrus vinaigrette. For dessert, she makes a fresh peach crisp with vanilla ice cream. Her finale – a Strawberry Gin Cocktail!

Butter Basted Sea Bass

4 fillets Sea Bass, 6 -8 ounces each

6 or more sprigs of thyme

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly smashed

2 -3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cooking oil

Cooking spray (optional)

Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions: Rinse and pat dry fish fillets then season with salt and pepper. Heat heavy skillet on medium-high and coat with cooking spray then add the cooking oil. When pan is hot add fillets and leave in place for about 4 minutes, depending on their thickness, which should be at least an inch. With spatula, gently press down to make sure fish gets good contact so that it will have a beautiful golden color. Carefully turn fillets over (only once), reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another minute or so then add the butter to the skillet so that all the fillets are surrounded by the butter. Now tilt the skillet towards you so that the butter pools and carefully add in the crushed garlic cloves and thyme being aware that the thyme might begin to spatter. With a large spoon, baste the fish with the butter then place skillet back flat on the stovetop for a few seconds and repeat this process until the fish has reached an internal temperature of 130 degrees, about a minute. Don’t overcook! Remove from pan and serve or cover with aluminum foil. Discard garlic but top each filet with a sprig of thyme and serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

Optional: Cut two lemons in half and place in the buttered skillet for the last minute of cooking, flesh side down, until slightly browned. Put one lemon half on each plate when serving.

Spring Salad

1 head Butter lettuce, rinsed and drained

Small bunch of asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut

1 cup fresh green peas (frozen peas may be substituted)

Small bunch of green onions, chopped

Fresh thyme leaves from a few sprigs, chopped finely

1 tomato, chopped

Citrus Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar (mild vinegar)

¾ extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)

1 tablespoon honey or sugar (optional)

Salt and pepper

Directions: Blanch asparagus and peas together in hot boiling water for 1 minute then immediately put in ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain well and set aside. Tear lettuce and put in salad bowl adding other salad ingredients. Dress and toss salad just before serving.

For vinaigrette, use a pint mason jar if you have one, makes a great shaker and stores leftover dressing. Add all ingredients to the jar and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust to your palate. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. If making a day or more before using, omit the garlic and pepper.

Peach Crisp

(For the topping)

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup quick oats

1 cup plain flour

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick cold butter, diced

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

(For the filling)

4-5 large fresh peaches or 1 can 14.5 oz sliced peaches in heavy syrup

(1/3 cup water if using fresh peaches)

½ stick butter, melted

2 tablespoons flour

¼ granulated sugar, add more if too tart

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon orange juice, preferably fresh

Pinch of salt

Directions: Place nuts on baking sheet in preheated 350 degrees oven for 5 – 8 minutes, shaking pan to move nuts around. Don’t forget them as they can quickly burn. Remove and let cool. Put all ingredients for Crisp topping, except the nuts, in a food processor and pulse until butter is mixed in. Pour mixture into a bowl and with your fingers work until mixture is crumbly and can form little pea-size crumbles. Chop nuts into bite-sized pieces, but not ground, in the food processer then add to the flour mixture. Set aside while you make the filling.

Filling: Peel and slice peaches adding 1/3 cup water in medium bowl or pour canned peaches with syrup in bowl adding all the filling ingredients. Stir well and divide into four individual buttered ramekins or a small baking dish and top with the crisp mixture. Bake at 350 until bubbly and golden brown, 10 – 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired. I have doubled the size of the filling when I’m preparing for six and the topping is ample.

Optional: Use apples, cherries or plums as a variation to this crisp.

Strawberry Gin Cocktail

(Serves 2)

3 ounces gin (long pour)

4 – 6 fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced or cut up

1 whole strawberry, halved

4 basil leaves, rinsed and dried

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

Club Soda or if sweeter drink is desired use Sprite or similar

Directions: Cut up 4 -6 strawberries and put in cocktail shaker. Take two of the basil leaves cutting and adding them to the strawberries. Muddle the strawberries and basil then add the sugar and muddle a little more. Next pour in a small amount oi the gin, muddling, then add the lemon juice and remainder of the gin. With the lid on shake well but keep your fingers on the top! Fill two cocktail or highball glasses with ice and using strainer, pour the strawberry gin mixture about halfway into each glass and top off with the club soda or lemon lime soda. Garnish each with half a strawberry and a basil leaf. Enjoy this light and refreshing summer cocktail

RELATED: Taste of the Town: Sausage and Bacon Frittata, Apple Dutch Baby 

Taste of the Town airs on BNC Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. ET. 

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