4 four ounce sea bass fillets ( or thick-cut true cod, escolar, halibut, black cod)
oil, salt and pepper for fish
Italian parsley for garnish
In a medium -large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions, and stir for two minutes. Add carrots, celery and garlic, turn heat to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using canned beans, add them, along with stock,1 C water, herbs and tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
Alternatively, if using dried beans, make sure to soak them in ample water, overnight or up to 24 hours. (This will prevent gastric issues and shorten cooking time. ) After the carrots, celery and garlic have been sautéing for 5 minutes. Add the dried, soaked beans and the stock. Add 2 additional cups water. Add the herbs, but do not salt yet, and do not add the tomatoes yet. Bring to a boil on high heat. Cover, turn to low heat and let simmer 2 hours. Then add the salt, pepper and tomatoes. Continue simmering another ½ hour. If the stew is too brothy for you, leave the lid off and keep it at a gentle simmer, letting it reduce a bit. However, I really enjoy it brothy.
Heat 1-2 T olive oil in a cast-iron skillet, over medium high-heat. Pat dry fish with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Sear each side until a golden crust forms on the fish, and turn heat down to cook through to desired done-ness, taking care not to over cook.
Place the stew in a wide shallow bowl, top with seared fish and garnish with fresh Italian parsley.