With all this gloom and grey, I wanted a dish that looked a little bit Springy. And I looked no further than the fresh organic chamomile blossoms I had on my table. Fresh chamomile is surprisingly bitter, so I thought I'd temper it with the maple syrup-reminiscent candy cap mushrooms.
Remember? I just used them in Candy Cap Cookies?! And our CSF (Community-Supported Fishery) share this week from Real Good Fish was sand dabs. That sounded like a great place to start.
One of the many things I adore about belonging to a CSF is knowing about the fisherman and the fish. These sand dabs were caught by Geoff Bettencourt on the FV Miss Moriah just up the coast from us in Half Moon Bay.
Sand Dabs, scientific name Citharichthys sordidus, are a mild white fish whose range runs the coastline from Alaska to Baja. It has the ability to change its color and pattern to match its surroundings which protects it from predators. Since most of the waters in and around the Monterey Bay are closed to trawling, these are caught using the hook and line techniques.
Ingredients serves 4
- 1 pound sand dab filets, deboned
- 1/4 C dried candy cap mushrooms
- 1 T fresh, organic chamomile blossoms + more for garnish
- 1/2 C boiling water
- 2 T maple syrup
- 1 T shallots, peeled and minced
- 1 T olive oil + more for serving
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- organic chamomile greens for serving
Place candy cap mushrooms and fresh chamomile blossoms in a bowl. Pour boiling water over them. Let steep until softened and fragrant. Whisk in maple syrup. Set aside.
In a large, flat-bottom pan, heat olive oil and saute shallots until softened and beginning to turn translucent. Pour in the soaked candy caps, chamomile blossoms, and soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer.
Place sand dab filets into the liquid. Poach until firm, approximately 5 minutes.
To serve, move cooked filets to a low, rimmed bowl. Spoon candy caps over the top. Pour in a few T of poaching liquid. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with fresh chamomile blossoms and greens.