white fish with zucchini scales

          sometimes i race out of the office to get to our neighborhood fresh fish store before it closes. i'm always relieved when i make it across town, and am greeted by the sound of the bell when i open the door. it's not a fancy-fake chime tripped by a break in the door's electronic connection, but the ring of an actual silver bell that gets rattled when the door pushes past it. i love the sound of that bell. it's no nonsense, like the store, the seafood connection. the floor is concrete, the light is bright, and the clean white refrigerated case is full of salmon, trout, tuna, mussels, and whatever is in season.  i enjoy walking back and forth in front of it to take it all in before making my selection.
          after a recent trip to the seafood connection, i brought home a few white fish fillets and needed some inspiration. i found a recipe and photo in the williams-sonoma cookbook, fish, for baked orange roughy with zucchini scales and tomato. i love the idea of arranging thinly sliced zucchini on a piece of fish to look like scales, but i'm not a fan of acidic, quick-cook tomato sauces. so instead, i created a dish using the more ethereal flavors of ginger and white wine to go with the delicate green adornments.
          jim & i both like this light, zesty dish, and the toasted sesame seeds finish it with a mild crunch of nut. when i put the plate down in front of jim, his reaction was, "oh, it's a fish you can eat with the scales on".

serves 4
• 4 white fish fillets (trout, orange roughy, cod, etc.)
• about 1 cup of dry white wine
• about 1 & 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
• fresh ginger root
• 1 or 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
• 1-2 tbl. safflower oil
• kosher salt & white pepper
• 2-3 tbl. sesame seeds
1. put the wine and broth into a large skillet, and lay the fish fillets in it.
2. give each fillet a generous grating of fresh ginger.
3. let the fish marinate for about 15 minutes.
4. heat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. toast the sesame seeds on a medium flame until they are golden brown.
6. arrange the zucchini on each fillet like fish scales.
7. drizzle a little fresh lemon & safflower oil over each row of zucchini, and dust them with salt and white pepper.
8. put the fish into the preheated oven and roast about 15-17 minutes until the fish is no longer translucent, and the zucchini is tender.
9. serve each fillet on a bed of rice and strain some of the pan juices over each one. sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top.

present thinly sliced zucchini scales on top of a few white fish fillets for an edible, arrangement of fish scales.

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