Note: Instead of striped bass, you may also use tilapia, halibut, or tuna. Fish fillets work better than whole fish – the potato fanning makes a striking individual presentation (whole fish would be difficult to cut and plate without disturbing the potato fan).
Note: The bass and asparagus cook at the same temperature for the same amount of time, making them ideal oven partners!
Note: While jarred roasted red peppers can be a time-saver, roasting your own is super simple and you avoid any "brininess" that may come from the jarred variety.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
To make the pesto, roast the peppers one of two ways:
1. Using tongs or a heavy fork, hold the peppers over the open flame of a gas burner until blackened all over, turning frequently. Transfer the blackened peppers to a freezer bag, seal bag, and steam for 30 seconds to loosen the skin. Peel away the blackened skin and seed the peppers.
2. To roast the peppers in the oven, preheat the broiler. Halve and seed the peppers and place them, skin side up, on a baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, until skin is blackened. Transfer the blackened peppers to a freezer bag, seal bag and steam for 30 seconds to loosen the skin. Peel away the blackened skin.
Transfer the roasted peppers to a blender and set aside. Place the pine nuts in a small dry skillet and set the pan over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the nuts are golden brown, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning. Transfer the pine nuts to the blender with the peppers and add the basil, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the grated parmesan cheese, oil and 1 tablespoon of the water. Process until smooth and thick, adding more water if necessary to create a thick paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the bass with salt and pepper. Arrange the bass on the prepared baking sheet and spread 1 tablespoon of the pesto all over the top. Fan the potato slices on top of the pesto, in slightly overlapping rows, covering the top of the fish. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the grated parmesan cheese over the potatoes. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is fork-tender and the potatoes are golden brown. To roast the asparagus, place the asparagus spears on a large baking sheet. Add the oil and toss to coat the spears with the oil. Arrange the spears in a single layer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, until the spears are crisp-tender. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the parmesan cheese over the asparagus just before serving. To plate, spoon the remaining pesto on 4 individual plates. Using the back of a spoon, "smear" the pesto across the plate. Arrange the bass on top of the pesto. Arrange the asparagus alongside, shave the parmesan over the asparagus (if you haven't already) and serve. Get more great recipes from Cristina at: www.cristinaferrarecooks.com.
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