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Black Bass with Sautéed Vegetables & Cioppino Jus
2 h 30 m
“Black bass has a delicate flavor that begs to be paired with something bold, like the cioppino-inspired jus in this healthy seafood recipe. The jus takes some time to make but we promise it's worth it. You'll have some left over: do as our editor-in-chief did and try it as a bloody mary base. Or use it to make risotto or a seafood stew.”
1 pound unpeeled, head-on raw shrimp
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
⅓ cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup chopped fennel
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup chopped celery
⅓ cup tomato paste
½ cup Pernod or other pastis, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2Twist heads off shrimp and place the heads in the prepared pan. Pull off and discard legs. Peel and devein the shrimp; set the shrimp aside in the refrigerator and add the shells to the pan. Roast the heads and shells until pink and crispy, about 15 minutes.
3Meanwhile, heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add fennel, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup Pernod (or other pastis) and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute.
4Add water, bay leaf, thyme, crushed red pepper, peppercorns, the roasted heads and shells and the reserved shrimp. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 6 cups, 1 to 1½ hours.
5Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to a blender in batches and blend until smooth (be careful when blending hot liquids). Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan, pressing on the solids to get as much liquid as possible. (You should have about 4 cups of cioppino jus.) Season with ½ teaspoon salt. Cover to keep warm.
6Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add squash and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, then the remaining 2 tablespoons Pernod (or other pastis), scraping up any browned bits. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
7Pat fish dry with paper towels and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, skin-side down. Cook, pressing gently with a spatula, until the skin is crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn the fish and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook, basting with the butter, until the fish is just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more.
8Divide the vegetables among 4 shallow bowls and top each with a piece of fish. Pour ¼ cup cioppino jus around the vegetables. (Reserve the remaining jus for another use.) Garnish with fennel fronds, tarragon, lemon zest and fennel pollen, if desired.
To make ahead: Refrigerate jus (Steps 1-5) for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 1 month.