Michelle and I spent six woman-hours last night cooking a delicious dinner featuring the bluefish from our final Community Supported Fishery (CSF) delivery for the August 2010 season. The six hours doesn’t include the time I spent trolling the aisles of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods looking for pomegranate molasses (couldn’t find it so we made our own from pomegranate juice), chicory (must not be in season, so I bought other greens), and whole coriander seeds (not in stock, had to make do with ground coriander).
The pomegranate glaze features the aforementioned pomegranate molasses, garlic, red onion, mint, coriander seeds and orange zest, and it’s a delicious complement to bluefish, which I always think of as a very “fishy” fish because it’s so dark and intense. Although the molasses has sugar in it, there’s only a hint of sweetness in the sauce. The rich flavor is a perfect foil for the oiliness of the bluefish.
The reason the dinner took so long to make—besides making the molasses from scratch—was that it was actually five dishes. In addition to the bluefish, the recipe called for “Dukkah,” garlic yogurt sauce, farro, and “Fiery Greens.” While the entire recipe is not online, there’s a link for the fish and a similar yogurt sauce at starchefs.com.
Farro, which I’ve never made at home before, is a delicious healthy grain that reminded me of barley, although the grains are larger and toothier. Adams adds the farro to a sauté of onion, celery, carrots and garlic and cooks it with chicken stock—we used veggie stock—and bay leaves.
The greens are blanched and then sautéed with lots of olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper flakes. The Dukkah is an Egyptian seed, nut and spice mix of blanched almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and coconut, all of which have to be separately toasted and then ground together.
The mixture of all these tastes on the plate—sweet, spicy, fishy, oily, salty, bitter—was what made it worth the effort.
Besides the recipe, the other star of the evening was the bluefish from our CSF, Cape Ann Fresh Catch. I was delighted to open my email on Tuesday and find that the fish of the day was a gorgeous two-pound bluefish fillet. I picked up my share at Community Servings, cut it in half, carefully wrapped the pieces in plastic wrap and freezer bags and froze them. When we opened one of the packages, we defrosted it and it was still beautiful and as good as fresh.
This is the first time that I’ve belonged to a CSF, and it’s been a wonderful opportunity to support local, sustainable fishing and learn a little about the ups and downs of the industry. Each week, we get an email telling us what they’ve caught, the boat that caught it, a little information about the fish, a recipe, and a blog post. Over the six weeks, we’ve enjoyed a variety of fish, including hake, fish dabs and bluefish.
The catch—no pun intended—is sometimes there is no catch. Deliveries have been cancelled due to quality issues and weather. While as a CSF member, you share the risk with the fisher folk, Cape Ann has made an extraordinary effort to provide us with the best possible fish each week.