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July 09, 2006

Fish Tales

So, I went over to the San Jose Japantown farmers' market today, and what did I spy? A stand selling fresh seafood! (Fresh Catch Seafood was the name.) I knew then that fish would be on the menu for dinner tonight.

I hit the other stalls and picked up some fruit, some tomatoes, and some fresh basil, and then hit the fish stand. The seller recommended the halibut, caught just off Santa Cruz yesterday. They were also selling wild salmon, and scallops, along with a couple of cooked seafood dishes.

I got a pound of halibut, and chatted for a while with the sellers. Unfortunately, they told me they may not be back to the Japantown farmers' market, because they're not doing much business there. The customer base is apparently not primed to appreciate wild-caught seafood. (As I was coming in to the market, I overhead the seller explaining to a potential customer, "See, the stuff in the grocery store that's $6.99 a pound is farmed salmon. This is wild salmon, which is better...." I don't think the customer was buying it.)

However, the seller did tell me that they regularly go to the Willow Glen farmers' market on Saturdays. And they gave me a business card, and told me to give them a call if I wanted something special, and they'd try to get it for me. I'd say they know a thing or two about customer service. (Either that, or they just appreciated having one customer who already knows why wild-caught salmon costs twice as much as farmed.)

I baked the halibut en papillote, using a recipe (originally for salmon) from Mark Bittman's Fish: on a sheet of aluminum foil, put down a slice of tomato. Top that with some chick peas and minced fresh basil. Put a serving of halibut on top, and top that with more basil, chick peas, and another slice of tomato. Drizzle it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and fold up the foil into a packet. Repeat with your other pieces of halibut, and then bake everything for 15-20 minutes, until the fish is done.

Fish en papillote is one of my favorite ways of cooking fish - the fish is guaranteed to stay moist (unless you overcook the hell out of it), and it's so much fun to open up the little packets at the table.

It was some very fine halibut. I think I'm going to be making a trip to the Willow Glen farmers' market when I next want fish.

Posted by spaceling at July 9, 2006 10:22 PM

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