True, I have yet to try Cara’s marinated grilled eggplant. But until she makes me a portion, instead of just inundating my inbox with oh-so appetizing pictures, I will remain a believer that roasting is the best way to create the perfect mouthful of eggplant. More so, baking the vegetables at a very high heat in the oven can transform a soggy, dull piece of artichoke into a fresh, crispy marvel. I toss them piping hot with a simple salsa verde — chives, parsley, anchovy paste, lemon juice, and capers — and pile them high over a simple fillet of bass. You can use any leftover herbs for the salsa, and any sturdy fish as the centerpiece. But what really makes these simple Mediterranean flavors come together is the anchovy paste which, without a friend’s inspiration, I would have not dared add to my shopping bag. — Phoebe
- 3-4 Japanese eggplant (1 small regular), cut into ½-inch rounds
- ½ red onion, quartered and sliced
- One 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
- Olive oil, to coat
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ pound striped bass fillet, skin-on
In a large rimmed baking dish, combine the eggplant, onion, and artichoke hearts with a glug of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss until fully coated, and then shake the pan to make sure the vegetables lie flat and have the maximum possible surface area exposed. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. With a spatula, redistribute the vegetables so they brown on the opposite side, and return to the oven for another 10-20 minutes, until the vegetables are dark brown and caramelized.
In the meantime, make the salsa verde: Combine the capers, herbs, anchovy paste, lemon juice, oil and salt in a small bowl and whisk until fully incorporated.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil and set it over high heat. Pat the fish fillet dry and when the pan starts to smoke, set it flesh-side down in the hot oil. Cook until the fish flesh has turned opaque half way through, then flip the fish and cook skin-side down. Cook time depends on the thickness of the fish. If you have a very thick fillet, finish in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes, or return the flame to low and cover the pan for a few minutes.
Set fish fillet on a platter or between two plates. Drizzle the top with a spoonful of salsa verde. When the vegetables have finished roasting, toss them together with the remaining salsa. Top the fish with the vegetable mixture and garnish with some chopped chives.