Kassel’s Cooking Corner: Another Goddamn Fish Recipe

When a recipe I think up turns out good, I sometimes put it up on LiveJournal. Sometimes it even makes it to Kittysneezes. This is one of those times.

I know I just posted a recipe for fish less than a week ago. This is another one. Wanna know why? Because fish is good!

I like fish.

I like that they are pretty and graceful in the water.

I like that they are sometimes little bastards and sometimes eat people.

I like that they are, themselves, tasty for the most part unless you are some kind of fear addict and need to eat fugu to stare death in the face in order to prove you are alive or order sea urchin at the sushi bar to prove you are a gourmand and cool and refined enough to eat it. Didja impress the sushi guy? Bet you didn’t… It’s really foul stuff.

If I Spoke French, I would call this something pretentious like Pêchez avec des tomates, des olives, et des oignons. Con ensalada…

Some time ago The Wife stumbled on a recipe for chicken with olives and tomatoes that was damn delicious. I don’t remember where she found it, but I ended up adapting it to fish,which is what I this is all about. If I could remember, I would cite the original idea. But I just can’t.

Basically this is a grilled and then baked fish. I would suggest something white and a bit on the firm side. I am using cod, but halibut or something like that would suffice as well. It’s baked with canned diced tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives and served over rice with a salad on the side.

And it is tasty! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fish. I found this sale for single 6 oz. cod fillets in the frozen section of the store. I am a cheap bastard and all fish is usually frozen at some point. These were a dollar per package, and I got three. Pretty thrifty, huh?
  • One 12-16 oz. can of canned diced tomatoes
  • As many pitted Kalamata olives as you feel necessary.
  • Red onion. White would work as well, but I had a red onion I needed to use. And you know what else would be good instead? Shallots. I love shallots.
  • 1 clove o’ Garlic
  • Thyme. I used fresh thyme as we found some at the local botanical gardens for a buck a plant. You can use dried, too.
  • Salt & Pepper (not the music group)
  • Salad stuff — which means lettuce, grated carrots, sliced red bell pepper, tomato, whatever.
  • Rice. I am using jasmine rice as it is the bomb.

Step 1 – Tossed Salad (snicker)
Oh, hey… preheat an oven to 375°. You’re gonna need to do that.

Step 1 – Make-a Da Salad

I like a simple salad tossed with vinaigrette. These days I am really liking Newman’s Light Italian Dressing as it is not as artery clogging as a lot of other ones, it has a lot of fresh lemon juice in it, and it tastes good. Plus there is the part about the company being pretty righteous overall. So I buy it.

The salad is just some greens and grated carrots and sliced red bell pepper – maybe a tomato. I like a simple salad, but you can make this as complex as you want. In any case, make the salad and put it in a bowl. Just before you serve, you’ll be tossing it with dressing.

Step 2 – Make Rice

Rice should be simple, yes? It ain’t. Main Dish Ingredients
Your Ingredients

Bill Buford‘s book Heat (which is a really good read) has this riff about how artisans universally strive to make the most complex and involved representations of their craft. When apprenticing under them, the apprentice usually starts with “something simple” that teaches some sort of fundamental that can then be built upon. In cooking, it’s the opposite. When something is described as “simple,” it often means that it took a lifetime of experience to master; less is more.

Stuff Ya Chopped Up
Stuff Ya Chopped Up
Rice is like this… simple, plain white rice. It should b easy to make it perfect but isn’t. You need just the right amount of water and just the right amount of rice and just the right heat and just the right timing. Some rices need to be brought to temperature, others stirred into boiling water. Some should be rinsed or soaked, some shouldn’t. It took me a lot of years to be able to say proudly that I can make a pot of rice, and while this might seem a mundane accomplishment, it isn’t.

In any case, you are going to need to make some rice. I prefer jasmine rice with fish as the since has a subtle and delicate flavor. I’d suggest about 3/4 of a cup of uncooked rice and making it how you feel it needs to be made.
Browning Fish
Step 3 – Browning Fish

Step 3 – Brown Fish

Get a pan really hot and add some butter and/or olive oil, depending on your mood. Toss in the fish and cook on each side for about a minute. Really you’re aiming more for color than for cooking. Turn that white fish brown, baby. Once you think it is browned enough, toss it in a casserole dish.
Step 4 – Sauteeing

Step 4 – Sautee, Bake…

In the same pan, sautee your onion on a high heat until brown and caramelized. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the thyme, olives, and canned tomatoes and cook until very warm. Dump this glop on top of the fish and toss it into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until you think the fish is done.

Step 5 – Plate

Out of the Oven (That's Steam)
If I hadn’t just taken it out of the oven, I would think I had
taken a picture of a ghost. But it’s just steam…
Get that salad you made and pour some dressing on it. Toss it well and portion it out into separate salad bowls or plates or whatever you have on hand. Then get a couple of plates. Put a bed of rice on each plate. Then throw your fish with tomato and olive concoction on top. If you have some flat leaf parsley on hand, you can pretty it up by tossing a bit of it diced on top as well …

Damn… you’re a rock star!

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