What a catch!

Potato-crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Cauliflower Puree, Sauteed Spinach and Saffron Sauce
Ever since we moved to Jacksonville I have been on the hunt for a fishmonger. Ok, it’s not like I’ve been driving all over the city every day in search – it is the largest city in land area in the USA after all! And let me tell you – those pesky fishmongers don’t really advertise hence making themselves harder to find in this town than a needle in a haystack. You might be wondering, why is a fishmonger so important? What’s wrong with the fish at your supermarket? When you can smell the fish in the aisles well before you get to the counter it has a tendency to be extremely off-putting. Luckily, just the other day Alex got a new co-worker who just so happens to be an avid fisher. Not only did we learn about the unique array of fish found in the St. John’s River (both salt and sweet water fish), but he graciously pointed us in the direction of Jacksonville’s best fishmonger – The Fisherman’s Dock. Naturally, I couldn’t contain my excitement and so we headed out the next morning with high hopes of fresh fish for dinner.

The Fisherman’s Dock was a breath of fresh air. Yeah, I realise that may sound strange for a fishmarket – but it truly was! Their selection of fileted, whole and shell fish was plentiful and top quality. The icing on the cake was that they carried freshly baked breads from The French Pantry – a coveted local french bakery that is only open Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm. Seeing as their hours are not condusive to “working folk”, I had not yet been able to sample their goods. We bought a wholewheat baguette, smoked salmon, Swordfish steaks, Chilean Sea Bass fillets and a few locally grown star fruit to boot!

For dinner that night, I marinated the Swordfish in a little olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. I blanched some green beans, boiled a few baby potatoes, chopped up cherry tomatoes and some kalamata olives. While the fish went under the broiler, I whipped up a vinaigrette with dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, chopped shallots and olive oil. I tossed all the vegetables together with the vinaigrette et voila – Nicoise Style Swordfish in under 30 minutes!

Nicoise Style Swordfish

The Chilean Sea Bass (aka Patagonian Toothfish) is shrouded in a fair amount of controversy. Reports of the endangerment and over fishing of this species led to many vendors refusal to sell it. After a seven year hiatus and the implementation of sustainable fishing practices – the Chilean Sea Bass is making a comeback. Of course there are still those out there that operate illegally so the best you can do is ask your vendor for proof that the fish is MSC certified.

I decided to pair the sweet, buttery flavour of this fish with a simple cauliflower puree. I crusted the fillet with thin rounds of potato and served it with a delicate saffron and white wine cream sauce. This was all topped off with a touch of garlic sauteed spinach. The crisp crunch of the potato proved to be the perfect contrast to the large, buttery white flakes of the fish. The sweetness of the cauliflower enhanced the sweetness of the fish and the earthy saffron sauce rounded all the flavours beautifully.


5 thoughts on “What a catch!

  1. Wow – this all sounds so wonderful! I’m truly jealous – there is not a local fishmonger here, and the selection of fish is not good at all. Oh, how I would love to live near the ocean!

  2. I am going to have to visit this store! I have been looking for a great fish market in Jacksonville as well! So far, the one I have been recommended to by quite a few people is in Mayport, and its called Safe Harbor. I have not been there myself (yet) but at least 4 or 5 people have told me that they are the best!I also wanted to tell you, its great to read a blog from someone in Jacksonville who seems to love cooking as much as I do!

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