Fish with Fennel and Tomato

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This is an oldie, but a goodie! Just made this again this weekend and was reminded of how wonderful I few simple ingredients can be!

Someday, I am going to retire and move to Italy. In my mind, that retirement includes doing yoga on the sunny balcony of an apartment in Cinque Terre, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. And shopping in the weekly market to buy fresh cheese and produce and local olives, capers, tomatoes and fish. And socializing with the other local old people who gather at the market. That image often helps me get through the most stressful workdays and puts a smile on my face in the most tiresome meetings. It’s my mental happy place.

This recipe may become the tangible representation of my idyllic dream. A culinary happy place. With some fresh fish from Locals Seafood, local fennel, local tomatoes we froze whole over the summer and parsley and thyme from our garden, this is a quick, summertime winner. If you want to grill your fish, you could do that and make the sauce in a separate dish–easy!

Fish with Tomato and Fennel (4 servings)

  • 4 fish fillets (we used local Spanish Mackerel)
  • 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup unpitted olives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian, flat leaf parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook without browning until it is soft (about 15 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the thyme and garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Stir well.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, olives and capers to the pan. Raise the heat a bit and cook until the mixture is thick, but not dry (about 15 minutes depending on how much liquid your tomatoes hold). Reserve and keep warm.
  4. Cook fish to your preference (I pan seared ours, but grilling would be great also).
  5. Plate the fish and top with the tomato and fennel sauce. Garnish with parsley.
  6. Pour yourself a glass of wine, inhale the delicious aroma and dream…

Fresh Drum Fish with Cherry Tomatoes

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We have the most amazing Sun Gold cherry tomatoes this week from Wild Onion Organic Farm. They are by far the best we have had all summer–soooo full of flavor! In fact, they are my snack at work because I cannot stop eating them.

I found some lovely, fresh Red Drum fillets from Locals Seafood on Wednesday and made this Italian dish last night. Red Drum is a local fish that has a very mild flavor–perfect with our tart sun gold tomatoes! This dish is perfect for summer–quick, easy and light. We thought it was pretty spectacular, but make this only if you have fresh cherry tomatoes. If you don’t have good tomatoes, make something else because the flavor of the dish really depends on them. We served this with local potatoes and green beans that we boiled together and tossed with the final cubes of last summer’s basil pesto. Locavore summer magic! Enjoy!

Fish with Cherry Tomatoes (serves 2)

  • 2 fish fillets (any mild fish would be good here), preferably skin on
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1pint good quality cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  1. Add olive oil to a saute pan that is big enough to handle the fish. Heat to medium low.
  2. Add the whole garlic cloves and saute for about 3 minutes, just to infuse the olive oil. Remove cloves.
  3. Turn heat up to medium high. Sprinkle salt and pepper on fish fillets.
  4. Add fillets to the oil and cover pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Do not turn the fish.
  5. Remove lid and add the white wine and tomatoes. Cover and cook until the fish is flaky and cooked through (unless you are using a very thick fish like tuna, this will probably be another 2-3 minutes).
  6. Remove from heat, add chopped parsley and serve.
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