To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Tree Top, a fruit processing cooperation, recently announced the winners of the “America’s Secret Ingredient” recipe contest.
Merry Graham of Newhall was one of the two winners for her poached ginger apple sea bass recipe. She said she came up with the recipe earlier this year while visiting her daughter in Texas. Graham heard about the Tree Top contest and quickly entered because she said Tree Top apple and fruit products were something she grew up with and raised her kids on.
She incorporated apple juice into the delicious sea bass recipe she made for her daughter and sent it in. Much to her surprise, the results were positive.
“I was stunned,” said Graham, “I wasn’t expecting it.”
Graham received her first taste of victory a year ago when she won a trip to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic and once returning home, promised herself she would win again.
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Her prize for winning the America’s Secret Ingredient contest is an all expenses paid trip for two to the Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival.
Recipe entries were tested by an outside vendor to determine the top 10 in each category. From there, the Tree Top kitchen tested each of the recipes and had an onsite panel of judges confidentially vote. The remaining top five were tested by a variety of judges from the region during Tree Top’s BBQ Championship event in Yakima, WA, on September 11 and 12, where the winning savory and sweet recipes were announced.
“We are thrilled so many people have celebrated with us over this last year, particularly by submitting high quality and great recipes highlighting Tree Top apple juice, apple sauce and apple juice concentrate,” said Tom Stokes, chief executive officer and president of Tree Top, Inc. “As we continue our 50th anniversary celebration in the Big Apple, we look forward to feting our two winning fans and their guests.”
While there Merry and her son will take part in a Godiva chocolate tasting, Rachel Ray's Burger Bash, and they will see Martha Stewart, Giada De lorentis, and other culinary stars.
Below is Merry Graham's award winning recipe:
Poached Gingered Apple Sea Bass (Serves 4)
- 4 (6 ounce) sea bass (halibut or cod) fillets (about 1-inch thick, cut in 2-inch chunks)
- 2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
- 32 ounces chicken broth, low sodium
- 1/8 c. Tree Top apple juice frozen concentrate
- 2 ½ tbsp. minced ginger root
- 1 serrano chili pepper (remove seeds & stems, finely chopped)
- 1 package (1 US dry pint /10-15 mini-peppers) mini multi-colored mini peppers (stems removed, cut in rings)
- 2 c. stringless sugar snap peas
- ½ c. cored and chopped Pink Lady® apple
- ¼ c. chopped green onions
- 2 tbsp. finely minced fresh basil
- Pink finishing salt or salt of choice
Sprinkle both sides of fish with lemon pepper; set aside. In a high-walled 12-inch skillet, bring to a boil broth, apple concentrate, ginger root, and serrano pepper. Cover skillet, reduce heat to simmer, cook for five minutes. Slice peppers in ¼-inch rings. Reserve 12 rings for garnish; set aside.
Reduce heat to medium low and carefully place fish in broth. Spoon poaching liquid over fish; cover, cook on medium low for four minutes. Uncover, add mini-peppers (except garnish peppers), sugar snap peas, apples, and green onions; reduce heat to LOW, cover, simmer five minutes or until fish is done.
Fish is done when it flakes easily and is opaque in the center when tested with a fork.
To serve: divide evenly among individual shallow soup bowls. Garnish with reserved pepper rings and sprinkle fresh basil. Sprinkle with finishing salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Serving Suggestions – Scoop steamed rice or your favorite noodles into the poached fish. A spring green salad with a light champagne vinaigrette is a complementary side dish.