1 non-stick skillet (12-inch size) or anodized grill pan
1 lb. unsalted butter or olive oil
8 fresh fish fillets, skinless and boneless*
1 bottle Frank Davis Bronzing Mix
1 large can Spray Pam
1 spray bottle Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray*
6 fresh lemons, cut in halves and juiced
1 bottle favorite dry white wine
Pan drippings from bronzing the fish
1/2 stick sweet cream butter, in pats
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 bottle Frank Davis Sprinkling Spice*
1 container prepared pesto sauce*
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente*
8 oz. block Parmesan cheese
First, place the skillet or grill pan on the stove and turn the heat up to medium-high. While that’s taking place, lay out the fish fillets on a sheet of waxed freezer paper and brush them with either the olive oil or the butter (or both).
Then sprinkle on (and rub in briskly with your hands) the bronzing mix. Note: You don’t want to put it on too heavily because the fillets will be too salty; but you don’t want them under seasoned, either, because they turn out too bland. A good trick is to season the fillet then lift it to your nose to smell it. If it smells like you could eat it raw, right there on the spot (because it smells that good!), you have it seasoned properly.
Once the fillets are ready and the pan is sizzling hot, liberally spray it with the Pam and ease the fish in gently. Do not, however, try to move them around or turn them over (at least not until the undersides are toasted to a seared, golden brown color)! You also must allow the fish to cook fully on one side before trying to flip it over, otherwise the fillets will become so tender they will literally fall apart on the spatula. Once you do turn them over, however, give the toasted side (that is now facing up) a generous sprit zing with the “Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray.”
Now you can also add a pat or two of butter to the skillet as needed between the fillets (this enriches the sauce you’re about to make and causes the fish to take on a dark toasty color). When they are almost done, spoon about a teaspoon of lemon juice and a little bit of the wine over the fillets. Then when they flake easily with a dinner fork, they’re just about ready to serve. . .except for the pan sauce. Here’s how that’s made:
Bring the pan drippings from bronzing the fish to a bubble. Then, one pat at a time, begin dropping the butter into the drippings and swishing everything around until the butter transforms into a light, creamy sauce. At this point slosh on a scant more wine, stir in the sliced mushrooms, season them with a dash or two of sprinkling spice, then whisk in the pesto until it blends totally with the butter and the drippings and becomes silky smooth.
All that’s left at this stage is to toss the penne and the pesto sauce together until uniformly combined. When they’re totally blended, present the dish at the table with a bronzed fish fillet, placed on top of the pasta, crowned with the sauce, and garnished with shredded Parmesan cheese.
Aw, man. . .now that’s what I’m talkin’ bout!
If you use a fish with a heavy bloodline, take care to meticulously cut away the line before attempting to cook the fillets. The “line” is really not blood, but an extremely oily fat line that produces a strong pungent taste in the finished fish. These lines are heaviest in redfish, sheepshead, drum, and catfish.
If you need to eliminate a major amount of sodium from your diet, instead of using the Bronzing Mix, substitute in its place a bottle of Frank Davis No-Salt Seasoning. It’s aromatic fragrance gives almost everything you cook an elegant affair.
If you want to make this dish “low fat and heart healthy,” you can substitute Promise or Smart Balance in place of the butter.
As an alternative to the “Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray, you can simply melt down about a half-stick of butter and drizzle it over the finished fish by the tablespoonfuls.
Some of the major grocery stores carry the prepared pesto in their dairy cases, and Sam’s Club usually keeps it in stock all the time.
If you’d prefer to use "heavier but smaller” pasta on the same order as penne, feel free to substitute ziti in its place. Whichever you decide to use, just remember not to overcook it—you want it just al dente.