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Reprinted from The Edge 1999.2000
Photo by Paul Foster
Wild striped rockfish with jumbo lump crabmeat in a brown butter sauce, garnished with toasted almonds and accompanied by savory bread pudding and sugar snap peas

SERVES SIX

Bread Pudding:
• 5 cups bread cubes, French or sourdough
• 12 asparagus spears, ends broken off, cut in 1” lengths
• 6-8 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
• 2 eggs ½ cup water
• 1 cup half & half
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
• 1 cup grated Fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together eggs, water and half & half, and pour over bread cubes in a buttered casserole. Let sit for five minutes, then gently stir in asparagus, mushrooms, seasonings, basil and cheese. Cover casserole and place in a larger pan filled with about 1 ½” hot water. Bake in the water bath for about 45 minutes, or until edges are browned.

Fish:
• 6 5-ounce pieces of rockfish, skin removed*
• ½ cup flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon pepper
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• 2-3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
• 2/3 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked for shells
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
• salt and pepper
• ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
*If rockfish is unavailable, speckled trout makes a wonderful substitute.

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a plastic bag, add fish pieces and shake to coat. Shake excess flour mixture off fish and sear on each side, turning once. Transfer to a plate or baking pan and place in a 350-degree oven. Add butter to skillet and reduce heat to low. When butter turns brown, stir in lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Add crabmeat and parsley and stir gently until heated through. Season to taste.

TO SERVE:
Place a piece of fish in the center of a warmed plate and top with crabmeat mixture and a sprinkling of almonds. Spoon bread pudding next to the fish and add steamed sugar snap peas. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Wine Picks:
Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, $14
Joseph Drouhin 1990 Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, France, $27
Joseph Phelps Vin du Mistral Pastiche 1997 , California, $10.85



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