floyd cardoz of north end grill
Pan-roasted wild striped bass with mustard greens
1 bunch mustard greens (about 13 ounces), tough coarse leaves discarded
2 tablespoons lime juice*
1 ½ tablespoons thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger*
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons minced mild to moderately hot fresh red or green chile (4 to 6 inches in length)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup clantro picked and washed
1 tablespoon wild mustard seeds
3 banana leaves (from a 1-pound package; see headnote), thawed if frozen, or parchment paper
6 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet or bass
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the mustard greens 30 seconds. Drain them and put immediately in the ice water to set the color.
2. Squeeze the excess water from the greens with your hands and roughly chop. (You should have about 1 3/4 cups, lightly packed.)
3. Purée the mustard greens with the cilantro, lime juice, ginger, garlic, chile, ¼ cup water, and 2 tablespoons canola oil in a blender until smooth. (You should have about 2 cups purée. Resist the urge to add more water; the purée will be too loose.) The purée can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap to prevent discoloration.
4. Toast the wild mustard seeds in a dry, small, heavy skillet over moderately low heat, shaking skillet, until they bloom and are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Finely grind the toasted spices and stir into the purée. Season the purée with the salt.
5. Preheat oven to 400°F and pat bass dry. Season bass with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Divide purée into 6 servings (about 1/3 cup per serving). Put it under and over the fish.
7. Heat 1/4 cup oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat until shimmering. Put half of the fish packages in the skillet, flap sides down, and cook 2 minutes. Turn the packages over and finish cooking in the middle of the oven, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the packages to a platter and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil and cook the remaining fish packages in the same way.
*Not likely available in the city!