Saturday, January 31, 2015

Baked Patagonian Toothfish

The perennial problem with dinner parties is in trying to find dishes that can be prepared "a la minute" and still being around for guests. So in preparation for an upcoming dinner, I thought it would be fun to do a baked fish dish - perhaps with some strongish tapenade flavors. I was planning to use cod, but my fishmonger didn't have any true cod, so I used Chilean Sea Bass (aka Patagonian toothfish). You want a thick, firm white fish that can stand the heat of the oven.
Today's was practice. So the ingredients are probably a bit off. Also I cooked about 1 1/2 lbs of fish for 2 of us for a Saturday lunch. Clearly too much.

Ingredients (Tapenade)

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1T capers, rinsed
1 clove garlic chopped
1 medium shallot chopped
1t habanero vodka (I make this by steeping dried habaneros in vodka)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil. 
A small handful of parsley leaves
2 anchovy fillets
A few grinds of black pepper


Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. There will be a few small olive chunks - you don't want a paste.

Ingredients (Fish)

2 Roma tomatoes sliced very thingy longwise.
1/2 medium yellow onion sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb firm, thick white fish. I did this in a single piece, but for the party we will do individual pieces
3T olive oil
1/2 quantity of tapenade
pepper to taste


Combine the tomatoes, onions, garlic, 1t of the oil in a mixing bowl. Leave to stand. Pat the fish dry. Oil the fish. Lightly oil a baking dish (I used a low sided enameled casserole dish).  Place the fish into the baking dish skin side down. Make a few (depending on the way you have portioned the fish) deep slits in the top surface of the fish. Spread the tapenade directly onto the fish, rubbing it into the slits. Shingle the tomatoes on top of the fish. Top with the onion/oil/garlic mixture.
Bake in a 450F oven for 20 minutes, leave to rest at least 10 more.

Note, of course the temperature of your oven, the type of dish and the thickness of the fish will factor into the timing. So watch the fish after 10 minutes.

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