Spring Fish (white fish with Mexican sauce)

Laundry on the balcony

The laundry can go outside aigain!

Just last week, I made beef stew with red wine, anchovies and tyme. It was cold outside, and switching on the oven for three hours to make warming food seemed like the most natural thing in the world. The house smelled divine. The food was far less so. The man liked it well enough, but I’d forgotten I am not a fan of meat cooked into stringy submission.

Good thing, then, that the weather has taken such a turn for the better. Out are stews and braises, in are salad dreams. So far, there have been a leafy salad with carpaccio, spinach leaves with garlicky dressing and a chicken salad with sesame oil dressing (more on that later). But because a girl can not live on salad alone (and a certain man definitely thinks he can’t), there has also been fish. Notably, there has been a Mexican fish dish from Jill Dupleix’ Good Cooking. There isn’t anything particularly se   asonal about its ingredients (canned tomatoes, screamingly expensive hothouse bell peppers), but it looked so cheery I couldn’t resist.

Baked fish with Mexican sauce

Good call, if I do say so myself. Lime juice, sweet peppers, tomatoes and olives make a bright sauce, to which hot peppers add the requisite heat for an early spring day. It had enough substance to warm us through, but was light enough to taste like food for the new season. Added to some firm, baked cod and paired with oven roasted bulb fennel, we had a happy start to spring eating.

The recipe is here, or follow along below with what I did.

Baked fish with Mexican sauce

Serves 2

300 gr fillet of white fish

olive oil

1 onion, halved and sliced thinly

2 red bell peppers, halved and sliced thinly

2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

3 small pickled Turkish peppers (or to taste), chopped finely

1 can of tomatoes

1 bay leaf

10 green olives, pitted and sliced

two handfuls of chopped fresh cilantro

two generous squeezes of lime juice (or more to taste)

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion, sprinkle with salt and fry until soft. Add the bell peppers, and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic and heat until the garlic softens and the mixture gets that divine garlicky smell. Add the hot pepper dice and the tomatoes, and stir thoroughly. Add the bay leaf and olives. Lower the heat, and cook for ten minutes, or until sauce starts to thicken.

Meanwhile, fry the fish for a minute on each side and arrange in an oven dish big enough to hold all fillets in one layer. Cover the fish in the sauce and place the dish in the hot oven. Bake for ten minutes, or until fish is cooked through.

Squeeze lime juice over the fish, sprinkle generously with cilantro and serve. A dollop of sour cream is lovely on the side.

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