One-Pot Baked Fish
Did I ever tell you how much I love fall weather? If not, I can certainly tell you how happy I am to be away from the blistering annoyance of summer’s heat and my irritation with humidity and still winds. This season is too beautiful to be mourning the loss of summer. From the morning breeze that is just perfect, lathering my skin like the gentle touch of my lover, to dusk, when the moon cascades over me, drowning me with rays of tender affection. Every single one of my precious minutes is filled with warmth and comfort.
It is the time of the year that facilitates wonder in one-pot cooking.
During this season, I am in full swing – mixing, muddling, grinding and assembling my cooking into one-pot wonders. Sophistication and splendor are the hallmarks of this fish casserole. Slivers of thyme proclaim an herbaceous aroma. The potatoes are tender and soft. They melt, longing for an amorous union. The fish (black bass) adorns itself at the center, marrying all the flavors around it and absorbing the endless over-flowing juices from the marinating vegetables.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about Marcella Hazan‘s recipe of Baked Fish and Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic. This recipe is similar, but it has a few additions, such as heirloom tomatoes, red onions, thyme and black olives. The dish is simple to prepare and everything gets cooked in one vessel. And the best part, you get to choose whatever ingredient you wish to add or subtract. Nothing is really set in stone.
Allow me to take your hand and show you a simple recipe, perfect for a romantic evening.
One-Pot Baked Fish (loosely based on Marcella Hazan’s Baked Fish and potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic)
- 1 pound new potatoes, peeled, washed, and cut into wedges
- 3-4 heirloom tomatoes, quartered
- A handful of black olives
- 1 red onion, sliced
- An oven-to-table baking dish that can accommodate both the fish and the potatoes in one layer
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 or 5 fresh thyme sprigs, stems removed
- 4-6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- Fine sea salt
- Black pepper ground fresh from the mill
- A 2-pound fillet from a firm-fleshed fish, such as grouper, striped bass, red snapper, or mahi mahi
1. Turn on the oven to 400°F.
2. Place the potato wedges and tomatoes in a baking dish, pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over them, sprinkle the thyme leaves and all the garlic cloves, onion, and olives, and salt, and pepper. Toss thoroughly. Put the dish in the preheated oven.
3. After 15 minutes, remove the dish to turn the potatoes over, then put it back in the oven. Cook until the potatoes feel tender when tested with a fork, another 10 minutes or so.
4. Remove the dish from the oven. Push the potatoes to the sides, making room in the center for the fish fillet to lie flat.
5. Wash the fish fillet, pat it dry with paper towels, and lay it flat in the dish, skin side down. Strip the leaves from the remaining rosemary sprigs, scatter them over the fish, add salt and pepper, and sprinkle the bread crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the fillet. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 14 minutes. Let the dish settle out of the oven for 3 to 4 minutes before bringing it to the table.