Do You Like Fish Sticks? Hmmm, Kanye? {roasted fish with artichokes}

After two nights of dinner out – pizza and hamburgers like the two teenage boys we are – last night we were back on track like elitist liberal yupsters and decided to cook a whole fish.

We “found inspiration” (i.e. used a recipe) in our trusty Steven Raichlen grilling book – whole roasted sea bass with baby artichoke salad.  We ended up with branzino which is evidently european sea bass (we could tell because it was in socks and sandals) and found the rest of our ingredients at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market – our weekly stop – although none of it was overly exotic.

To make whole grilled branzino, roasted potatoes and baby artichoke salad for two, you’ll need (and I’m adapting):

For the salad:

– 8-10 baby artichokes

– juice from one lemon

– 2 roma tomatoes, diced

– green parts of 2 scallions, sliced

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 8-10 basil leaves, chiffonnaded (can that be a verb? if so, then do that)

– 1 tsp. anchovy paste

– 1/4 cup olive oil

– salt and pepper

Peel back the outer leaves of the bb artichokes until you see pretty light green parts. Cut off the bulk of the stem and trim off the tough outside pieces.  Cut off the top 1/2″ or so of the artichoke and slice the remaining artichoke into skinny rings.  Put them into a bowl with your lemon juice immediately – they oxidize super fast and lemon juice will slow that down.  Add the rest of your ingredients and combine to make a salad/salsa to top your fish.  You can do this a few hours in advance – pop it in the fridge if you want while you enjoy a Pimm’s Cup (not pictured, but present).

Now for the fish.  This was managed by my sous chef, so I’m going to give you an outsider’s point of view although I don’t think I’m too far off.

Slice a lemon into 1/8″ cross-sections and place that along with the white parts from the scallions you used in the artichoke salad. Close up your fish cavity with some cooking twine and slather with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Grillmaster put the fish on a medium-high grill over direct heat and then turned it down to medium.  Word on the street is that he flipped the fish once and closed the lid for about half the cooking.  Or at least I think that’s what he did.  He went outside with a raw fish and came back inside with a cooked fish and all we have out there is a grill and a chiminea… so you do the math.

We decided to serve the fish and artichoke salad with some roasted potatoes.  The fish was delicious and the salad was tangy and summer-y.  Even though I’m starting to get excited about the weather cooling off, I’m not excited about my favorite fruits and veggies going into hibernation.  I’ll miss you guys!

Here’s sous kicking ass filleting the whole fish like a pro and the finished product with a member’s pour of chardonnay in the background (as expected).

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