Friday, January 22, 2016

Mediterranean fish bake

When I wrote to my new-mother niece Jenny in Melbourne a while ago, saying I wished there was something I could do to be helpful, she replied saying there was: could I please send her some easy one-dish recipes for dinner.  So I did, and they were exactly what she wanted.
         Recently I stayed with my best-private-cook-I-know friend Rosemary in Auckland, and she gave me another great recipe that I'll be passing on to Jenny. It came originally from Dish magazine, and as she pointed out, it's really more of a method for a good way to use firm-fleshed fish, such as trevally (araara). You can usually get it quite a bit cheaper than, say, terakihi - it was only $19.95 at the wonderful Wellington Seamarket in Cuba Street, and 500g served three of us the first night and two the second - the gently reheated leftovers were remarkably good.
          This recipe is my version, loosely based on the Dish one.  It's all rather approximate and very flexible. The key ingredients are the fish, potatoes, peppers and olives, but otherwise you can use what you have, such as sliced courgettes, quartered tomatoes, crushed tinned tomatoes instead of miso stock, or capers instead of artichoke hearts.

Mediterranean fish bake

500g trevally, cut into 2 cm cubes
Extra virgin olive oil
Enough thinly sliced roasting potatoes to form a double layer in the bottom of a medium roasting tin

(Agria are good but nice little oval Annabelle, pictured, are even better, because they cut neatly into small round slices. I peeled mine, but you could leave on the smooth scrubbed skins of fresh Annabelle potatoes if you prefer.)

A selection of Mediterranean vegetables, sliced fairly thin, to strew over the top
(I used a large onion, a red pepper, and a small aubergine - I sprinkled the aubergine with salt and left it while I did the rest, then rinsed it off.)
Half a tin of artichoke hearts, cut into halves or thirds lengthwise
(Artichokes are very good with firm, well-flavoured fish, and for this dish the tinned ones work much better than the little ones in jars)
About 100g black olives
1 sachet of miso soup made into stock with 3/4 of a cup boiling water
1 medium glass (about 125ml) dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
Lemon quarters
Crusty bread

Heat oven to 200C.
Dribble olive oil over base of roasting tin.
Arrange overlapping potato slices to form a more-or-less double layer covering the base.
Pour over the stock. Put tin into oven and turn heat down to 180C.
Cook for approximately 30 minutes, until potatoes are semi-cooked.
Meanwhile, microwave the slices of onion, pepper and aubergine separately for a few minutes on high (the time depends on your microwave) just enough to soften them before they go in the oven.
Take out roasting tin and strew the onion, pepper and aubergine slices evenly over the top. Return to oven for 15 minutes.
Take out tin and add sliced artichoke hearts and olives. Return to oven for 15 minutes.
Take out tin and add cubes of fish. Heat the white wine to reduce it a little, then pour over the fish and vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Return to oven for no more than 10 minutes - just enough to cook the fish through but not dry it out. Check seasoning.
Serve with lemon quarters and crusty bread to mop up the juices.


Deborah said...

That looks wonderful. I'll be adding it to my repertoire of easy-but-delicious-meals to cook on school nights. A little fiddly and taking a wee bit of time to cook, but so good for cooking while doing myriad other things, such as the washing, and ducking out to collect daughters from after school lessons, and helping with homework, and all of that.

Anne Else said...

Thanks, Deborah - and as you say, perfect to fit in with other things, which is almost always the reality of making dinner for most people. I think it was even better the second night.

Holy Food said...

This looks so good!I cant wait to try this recipe.Thanks for sharing!