This sauce is vibrant with garlic and a touch of vinegar, and we have Spain to thank for it! When first made, it's a lovely pale green liquid, thick with bread crumbs. When you gently warm the sauce for serving, it thickens to a wonderfully soft texture that is as good with sauteed monkfish, red snapper, or halibut fillets (Jimmy: salmon also works) (and as a dip for grilled shrimp hors d'oeuvre), as it is with bass. If you have even a tablespoon left, make yourself a soft-scrambled egg lunch the next day with a little dollop on top. Yum.
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf or curly parsley leaves, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth (cool or room temperature)
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste
Four 7-ounce bass fillets, each 1/2"-3/4" thick
TO PREPARE: Preheat the broiler with the rack at the top rung.
Put the bread crumbs in a small mixing bowl, stir in the vinegar, and set aside. Put the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and process the ingredients until they're fairly well chopped, scraping the bowl down once or twice. Add the vinegared crumbs and process until the parsley is in very small pieces, scraping the bowl down once or twice. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and, with the motor still running, gradually add the chicken broth. The sauce should be a lovely pale green and slightly liquid. If it seems very thick, add a few more drops of chicken broth. Season it with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside. Or cover and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Season the bass fillets with salt and pepper. Rub them with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil, put them in a pan skin-side-down, and set under the broiler. Broil them, without turning, until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. (Jimmy: if you have a thick or heavy gauge pan, the time may be longer. In any case, check so you don't overcook the fish.) To check, make a slit in the thickest part of one fillet to see if it's opaque throughout. If necessary, broil for another minute or so.
TO SERVE: Put the garlic-parsley bread crumb sauce in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until just warm. While it's warming, place the fillets on warm dinner plates. Place a spoonful of thickened sauce next to each fillet and serve right away.