With the tomato season coming to an end, this simple dish is suitably autumnal. It’s also a great way to cook fish cutlets such as snapper, as they hold up well to some gentle simmering in the sauce. Though I’ve cooked this with fish fillets, I’d urge you to brave the bones in a cutlet as it tastes so much better. The recipe is open to doubling or tripling in quantity, just make sure your pan is big enough to fit the fish, without crowding, for the final simmer.
Fish in tomato and olive sauce
2 tabs olive oil
2 large fish cutlets (or 4 small)
1 cup fish stock (vegetable or chicken stock would do)
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
A pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 2 tabs hot water
1 onion, chopped
A touch of chili, for subtle warmth (optional)
2-4 cloves of garlic (the more the better)
3-4 large, ripe tomatoes (or a cup or two of canned crushed tomatoes)
A decent handful, green beans, top and tailed
10 black olives (I like Kalamata)
Salt and pepper to season
Soak your saffron threads in a little hot water or stock.
Heat a heavy bottomed fry pan to medium to high, add half the olive oil and fry the fish for a minute or two both sides. This is to seal and colour the fish rather than to cook through. Put aside once seared.
Add the rest of the oil to the pan and sauté the onion. Stir frequently and cook until translucent, then add garlic and chili. After a minute or two pour in the crushed/blitzed tomatoes, wine and stock. This recipe works fine with just stock and no wine, though the alcohol adds depth of flavour. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer. After 5 minutes or so add the olives, green beans and fish. Depending on the thickness of the cutlets, poach in the tomato sauce for 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through.
Taste and season as required. Serve on rice, with salad or crusty bread.
This recipe first appeared in the March 2011 Newsletter. To receive a monthly recipe like this, as well as the latest articles, updates and healthy links click the e-newsletter button for a free subscription.