Please welcome Hank as he shares one of his favorite ways of preparing fish with fresh garden tomatoes. ~Elise
Tomatoes and fish are a natural pairing. Their sweetness and acidity livens up lean, white fish such as cod, walleye or sole, and it cuts some of the fattiness of oilier fish such as bluefish and mackerel.
This is a deceptively easy dish that requires a little attention while you are cooking it. You are cooking the fish very gently in the pan, then making what is essentially a warm vinaigrette with the tomatoes and olive oil.
You might notice that this recipe requires a quarter cup of olive oil. That might seem like a lot, but the oil forms the base of the sauce for the fish. You also need it to baste the fish fillets as they cook. With this method, you never flip the fish. You cook the other side of the fillet by basting it with hot oil. The result is a more delicate flavor that goes a long way toward preventing your fish from falling apart.
This recipe will work with a wide array of fish. We made it with Pacific cod, but any lean white fish—walleye, sole, pollock, haddock, redfish, etc.—will work, as would the oilier mackerel or bluefish. We recommend using a thin fillet for this recipe. The thicker fillets take more time to cook, and therefore more time is needed to baste.
- 1 pound thin skinless fish fillets
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large fresh tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- A splash of Tabasco or other hot sauce
- Black pepper to taste
1 Remove any pin bones from the fillets and pat them dry. Salt the fish fillets well and set out on a cutting board. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and set it over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the fish fillets, which should sizzle gently. Cook undisturbed for 90 seconds.
2 When you see the bottom of the fish fillets turn opaque, tilt the pan and, using a large spoon, baste the tops of the fish with the hot oil. Do this constantly until the top of the fillets begin to flake, about 3 minutes.
3 Add the tomato chunks, the Italian seasoning and the splash of Tabasco. Swirl around in the pan to combine and let this cook for 90 seconds. Turn off the heat.
4 Put a fish fillet on everyone's plate. Swirl the tomatoes in the pan and add black pepper to taste; this swirling should emulsify the sauce. Spoon out some tomatoes and sauce for everyone and serve at once.
Serve with crusty bread and a dry rose wine.