This was dinner last night: Chilean sea bass* in a sour orange beurre blanc, potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted in olive oil, and sauteed cabbage. The cabbage was actually a slaw left over from our shrimp tacos the previous night, marinated in lime juice and serrano chiles, but tossed in a hot wok it was really delicious, especially with the beurre blanc.
This was my first time making beurre blanc, and I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing until I was halfway through it. I was following a recipe in Moro East and wasn’t quite sure if it was working correctly, so I referred to James Peterson’s Sauces and saw that I was basically approaching it the right way, just with some unusual seasonings. The recipe uses Seville oranges, but allows substituting a mix of lemon and orange juice if you can’t get them. I combined the juices in a small pan, added a bay leaf, some thyme, finely grated orange zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon, heated it all to a simmer, and whisked in an improbable amount of butter. The sauce wasn’t particularly thick, but it didn’t break, and it had a wonderful tart orange flavor that went gorgeously with the fish and cabbage and sweet potatoes. Not an every day sort of sauce, but nice to know how to do.
*Yes, I realize Chilean sea bass is not the best choice, as it’s been red-listed by sustainable seafood advocates. I have bought it maybe twice in my life, both times from a local family-owned fish market that primarily sells only their own catch. But the Moro recipe specifically called for sea bass and I wanted to see what it was like (and it was, in fact, wonderful). As Rob DeBorde says in Fish on a First-Name Basis, “if the darn thing didn’t taste so good, we wouldn’t have to fret over eating it. Stupid fish.”