A few weeks ago, a Greek guy named Nick painted our house. He’s been around the neighborhood painting for years, and it turns out he was not only an efficient and reliable painter, but a super nice guy to boot. We got to chatting about his love of fishing, and I told him how I grew up on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. Turns out, he’s done a lot of fishing down that way, and had some great stories to share. I explained to him that my fishing career had been short-lived. In my twenties, I went fly fishing with my then-boyfriend who told me I was not invited back because I talked too much. When Nick finished our house, I casually mentioned that I would love some fish if he ever has any extra.
Yesterday he called me and asked if I like sea bass. That’s like asking a kid in a candy store if they like lollipops. One thought of fresh sea bass, and I was already salivating like Garfield The Cat. An hour or so later, things turned fishy (couldn’t resist!) when I saw Nick walking up my front path with a large white bucket. Inside were two entire fish, grayish silver, and covered in a thick slime. Nick grinned, proud of his catch, and asked me for a couple of freezer bags so he could take the bucket back with him.
After Nick left, I looked at the fish, looked at my dog, and asked him, “Are you kidding me?” I love my dog so much, in large part because he can’t talk back to me like my kids. He looked back at me with a long face, as if to say, “I’m not really sure what to tell you, most wonderful owner of mine, but if there’s anything left, would you give this sweet pooch a morsel?”
In a flash, I knew where to turn: You Tube. You Tube is my new go-to for just about anything I need to figure out. It is the absolute best because as my husband knows, I hate to read directions of any kind. I’m a visual learner, which makes it even more appealing. A few minutes later, I was watching some rough-around-the-edges fisherman hack up a fish dockside. I stopped and replayed it as needed, while pulling out my knife sharpener. The kids were nearby, and the reaction was everything you’d expect from two girls and a boy. The girls were appalled, but my son lingered, fascinated as the guts poured out onto the cutting board, shouting loudly, “Awww, cool! Look, the heart! Can I stab the eyes out, Mom?”
Before I knew it, I had gutted my first two fish, totally solo. I seasoned up a few pieces, and fired up my broiler. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!
Meanwhile, my husband was off at a golf tournament and I texted him the above picture of my delicious meal, which he proudly shared with the random guy sitting next to him at dinner. The guy was very impressed, and commented, “That is awesome,” in a tone that insinuated my husband had some he-man wife back home dicing up fresh fish for dinner. The random guy next to him turned out to be none other than retired New York Rangers player Brian Leach! This morning, Mr. Vermonter-husband-of-mine says, “Yeah, I guess I didn’t realize he was so famous…?” Isn’t he lucky to be married to a lady who knows her hockey who quickly enlightened him? If I ever meet Brian Leach, I am guessing that I can just introduce myself as Fish Girl. He’ll either know exactly who I am, or he’ll run for the hills.
The experience left me craving more fresh fish, and perhaps even my own fishing pole. The idea of not talking for any length of time might be hard for me, but I’ll give it some thought.
How to prepare your own Sea Bass and have it on the table in 10 minutes:
-Coat with olive oil and a pre-made fish seasoning. I bought one at Whole Foods, and Nantucket Off-Shore makes some tasty ones as well.
-Broil 7-9 minutes.
-Garnish with fresh lemon.