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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cook This Immediately

One of my favorite cookbooks is Cook This Now by Melissa Clark.  As those of you out there who have been reading this blog for a long time know, I love Meliisa Clark and I love Melissa Clark's recipes.  In fact, if anyone out there in You Little Tarte-land knows Melissa Clark, I'd be very happy if you could introduce me.  I'm just putting it out there.  Just in case.

But my point is, Melissa Clark cooks the way I want to eat.  She uses only the freshest ingredients, but more than that, her recipes are accessible and they work.  Yes, they work.  In fact, I've never made a Melissa Clark recipe that wasn't (a) delicious, and (b) didn't work.

Melissa Clark strikes me as a person who enjoys her job as a food writer.  She also strikes me as a person who doesn't have a complicated relationship with food.  With the exception of dealing with her husband's lactose intolerance, it appears that Melissa is pretty much game to try anything.  I like that in a food writer.

So, today's delicious cavalcades of flavor (you like that, don't you?) come from the aforementioned Cook This Now cookbook by Melissa Clark.  Oddly enough, despite using this cookbook nearly to death since I purchased it a couple of years ago, I've never made either of these recipes.  I can't imagine why.

The first recipe is for Panfried Striped Bass with Anchovy Garlic Bread Crumbs and Basil.  Need I say more?  Anchovies? Garlic?  Yum, and double yum.  The only thing that could possibly make this recipe more appealing is the addition of olives.  You might think the fish with the fish would be a little on the fishy side, but it's not.  The combination is definitely salty, but salty in the very best way possible.  Even if you are a confirmed anti-anchovy person, you may find your mind being changed forever.  And if, perchance, it is not, at least you tried to widen your horizons, which is always a good thing.  Trust me.

And because I needed something to go along with the fish, just a few pages further into the July section of the book, is this recipe for Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Avocados, and Lime Cilantro Dressing.   Don't reject this out of hand because you think cilantro tastes like soap (which I do not).  Instead, substitute in flat leaf parsley.  It will still be delicious.

And while you're at it, adding Cook This Now to your cookbook collection would be a really good idea.  As would be introducing me to Melissa.

Recipe:  Panfried Striped Bass with Anchovy Garlic Bread Crumbs and Basil
Cook This Now by Melissa Clark


 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 anchovy fillets
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs (I used panko)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Chopped fresh basil, for serving
Lemon wedges for serving


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the anchovies and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until the anchovies have melted into the butter, 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the bread crumbs and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Season with pepper.  Scrape the bread brumes into a small bowl.

Wipe out the pan and return it to medium high heat.  Add the oil and heat until very hot but not smoking.  Season the fish with salt and pepper.  Add the fish to the skillet skin-side down.  It should sizzle when it hits the pan.  Cook, without moving, until the edges and sides of the fish are opaque, about 5 minutes.  Carefully flip the fish and continue cooking until it is completely opaque and beginning to flake, 2 to 3 minutes more.

To serve, arrange the fish on individual serving plates,  Scatter basil over the fillets and top with the bread crumbs.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe:  Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Avocados, and Lime Cilantro Dressing
Cook This Now by Melissa Clark


3 ears corn, kernels sliced from the cob
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large tomato diced
2 rip avocados, diced
2 scallions finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Drop in the corn and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes.  Drain.

In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Whisk in the oil.

In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomato, avocados, scallions, and cilantro.  Add the dressing and toss well to coat.

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