When the calendar turns to April, I don’t walk, I run to lighter dinners. Gone are the days of heavy-laden stews, soups, and meats; in comes fare that is light but still satisfies the soul, and also helps the middle waist that has grown a little in the past few months. My palate is weary and tired from yet another side dish of roasted vegetables, give me dinners that zing with just-picked freshness!
I’ve discovered my supermarket has frozen wild caught cod for a minimal price that is divided into small portions. Last week, I thawed a couple of pieces out for dinner, but yawned at the idea of yet another piece of baked fish for supper. A quick stop at the supermarket following my after-work walk led me to develop a Mediterranean-flavored dish that was easy to prepare as well as a light and healthy dish. Aside from the cost of the fish, it’s also relatively inexpensive as well. I like meals that are light on your pocketbook as well as your waistline!
This recipe can go in many directions; if you don’t like to cook with alcohol, you can leave out the wine. If you aren’t one for spicy foods, you can leave out the crushed red pepper. If you are looking to save a few calories, leave out the butter. But the main ingredients of tomatoes, olives, and fresh basil are important to keep, as well as using a light, white fish. By adding the fish to the warm sauce, you are poaching it, resulting in a light and flaky dish. Of course, if you have a thicker piece of fish, you may need to cook it just a little bit longer, until it is soft inside.
White Fish with Tomatoes, Olives, and Basil
If you have any sauce leftover, you can make a second meal by adding it to some pasta!
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced (or a couple of tablespoons minced red onion)
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
¼ cup chopped olives, Kalamata, green, or a mix
A couple splashes of white wine (about ¼ cup), optional
¼ cup or so, chopped fresh basil
A dash or two of crushed red pepper, optional
A couple teaspoons of butter to finish, optional
3-4 pieces of white fish–cod, sole, haddock
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. When warm, add the garlic and shallots, cook over medium heat until soft. Raise the heat and add the tomatoes, olives, and wine, if using, and bring it to a soft boil. Cook until sauce is reduced a little but still thin. Add crushed red pepper, if using, and add basil, stirring to wilt. Tuck the fish into the sauce, covering it. Turn heat to medium and cook until fish is soft and flaky. Add butter, if using, to finish the sauce. To a plate, add a piece of fish and top it with a little bit of sauce. Serve with a simple salad or with some fresh roasted asparagus.