Sea Bass Time

A LOOK AT THE MYTHOLOGY OF BOTH EAST AND WEST SHOWS THAT FISH HAS ALWAYS OCCUPIED A SACRED PLACE.

Indeed fish evolved into a concept that is mentioned frequently by the Sumerians as well as in Indian mythology and the celestial religions. Turkey, whose fertile lands are surrounded by water on three sides, has a special relationship with seafood. A staple of Byzantine cuisine, fish and other seafood in time were incorporated into Ottoman cuisine as well. Apart from a special interest taken by Mehmet the Conqueror, however, fish was rarely consumed in the 15th and 16th century Ottoman Empire. But when we look at palace menus for the 17th century, we suddenly find a profusion of fried and stuffed fish as well as fish soups. And by the 18th and 19th centuries, fish of every species had found its way into palace cuisine and onto palace dinner tables.

Large or small, fish not only contain the vitamins A, B and C, but also iron, iodine, phosphorus and beneficial oils. Eating fish, which are very low in cholesterol, has become one of the hallmarks of good nutrition. People with heart disease are known to benefit from consuming fish instead of red meat and chicken.

Fish proliferate in the current month of October. Feeding in the Black Sea during the summer, fish begin to migrate through the Bosphorus in large numbers when the waters cool again in fall. During this migration, fattened up sea bass increase in numbers and fill fishmongers’ stalls. Sea bass, whose taste improves and price rises as it increases in size, can be cooked by a variety of methods including grilling and baking in the oven.

GRILLED SEA BASS WITH PURSLANE SAUCE

Ingredients:3 sea bass, juice of one lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt to taste.FOR THE SAUCE: 1 bunch purslane (leaves only), washed and put through a blender, 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 slice of bread, crusts removed and moistened with water, 1 tsp capers, 1 tomato, peeled and put through a blender, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together all ingredients, cover and refrigerate.)

Preparation:Clean the fish and pat dry. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice with a little salt. Oil the grill and place the fish on top (score with a knife if very large). Brush immediately with the olive oil-lemon juice mixture. When done, arrange on plates with a little sauce on the side and serve.

SEA BASS BEUREK

Ingreditens:5-6 sheets of mille-feuille pastry, flesh of one bluefish, boiled or baked, 1 tbsp crushed almonds, 2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation:Mix together all the ingredients except the mille-feuille. Then cut all the mille-feuille sheets into rounds by pressing down with the top of an inverted glass. Arrange the rounds in muffin cups. Fill each cup with some of the mixture, top with a round of mille-feuille and brush with egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 175 C oven and serve piping hot.

SEA BASS WITH FENNEL

Ingredients:1 bluefish fillet, 1 tbsp finely chopped, boiled fennel, squeezed to remove all liquids, 1 onion, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp roasted, crushed sesame seeds, 1 tbsp black olives, finely chopped, plenty of toothpicks.

Preparation:Saute the onion in a skillet with a tbsp of olive oil. Add the salt, pepper and fennel, and a little water if necessary, and cook over low heat and let cool. Cut the bluefish fillet lengthwise, top each piece with some of the fennel, then roll up and fasten with a toothpick. Then cook the fish, either in the oven, or by frying lightly on each side in a skillet. Serve with a green salad on the side. well, then add the noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot.

BULGHUR PILAFF WITH SEA BASS

Ingredients:2 cups coarse bulghur, 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 2 green peppers and 2 green onions, all finely chopped, 2 tomatoes, grated, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp grated lemon rind, a sprig of rosemary, 4 cups water, 1 sea bass, boiled and broken up into small pieces.

Preparation:First saute the onion in the oil. Then add the tomatoes, green and red pepper and green onion. Cook a little longer and add the rinsed and drained bulghur. Immediately add salt, black pepper and the rosemary sprig. Stir gently, cover with water and cook over low heat. When almost done, add the grated lemon rind and the sea bass and mix. Remove the rosemary sprig, cover tight and let steep.  Serve piping hot.