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Bass with asparagus sauce

Serves 4

The traditional fish for this preparation is the European striped sea bass, branzino. Use the more readily available striped bass.

Flour (for coating)

Salt, to taste

2 pounds skinless, boneless bass fillet, cut into 4 even-size pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup vegetable or fish broth

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup white wine

1. Set the oven at 250 degrees. On a deep plate, combine the flour and salt. Dredge the fish to coat it on both sides; set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add asparagus, garlic, and parsley. Cook the asparagus mixture, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until it begins to brown.

3. Pour in the broth. Cover and simmer 8 minutes. Remove from heat and puree the mixture in a blender.

4. In another skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it is hot, add the butter. When the butter melts, add the fish pieces and cook for 2 minutes or until the crisp and lightly browned. Turn and brown the other side for 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside on a plate in warm oven.

5. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the pureed asparagus and stir well. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Let the mixture bubble gently over medium heat until it reduces slightly.

6. On each of 4 plates, set a spoonful of the sauce. Set the fish on top. Add more sauce. Adapted from Ristorante La Capannina in Aquilea