I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

April 9, 2011

Poached Whole Fish (p. 351) with Salsa Romesco (p. 277)

I've been holding off on this poached fish recipe because I don't get to an area with a fish market very often, and Fresh Market doesn't sell whole fish. I finally got a chance to swing by Earps, a long-standing fish market in Raleigh, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. Fresh fish comes in from the coast each morning, and you kind of feel like you're in a little hut at the beach when you're in there.

My recipe calls for a pretty large fish -- a 6 pound salmon or sea bass -- but not only would that be way more fish that we could ever eat, I also don't have the type of pot that I could cook a fish that big in. Instead I chose a white bass that looked like it would feed two nicely.

This preparation would definitely have been easier with the proper pan; a long fish kettle with a removable rack. Instead, I simmered vegetable stock and some water along with dill and parsley and a chopped onion in my regular stock pot and then tossed the fish in whole.

Covered, mine only took about 10 minutes to cook, and then I carefully lifted the fish out (though it still lost its head -- whoops!) and put it on my pretty fish plate. For a little flavor, and to keep the fish from drying out, I spooned a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, dil, and parsley over the fish.

Since the fish is pretty simply prepared, I made Salsa Romesco to jazz things up a bit. It's a Catalan sauce that is supposed to be muy piquante.

It's also easy to toss together -- I made mine earlier in the day and it only took as long as needed to brown each of the ingredients (dried chilies, garlic cloves, almonds, and bread crusts) in some olive oil. These all go into a food processor along with a seeded tomato and some vinegar. Process everything down together into a sort of grainy paste, then serve.

I was surprised that Matt thinks this is a definite candidate for making in the future. I thought it was good, but whole fish is always kind of a pain, what with the bones and all. Still, the fish was really flavorful and we loved the olive oil mixture. Even after the fish was long gone we did a lot of bread dipping in the extra sauce.

The Salsa Romesco was good, but not great. I liked the flavor of almond and the sort of subtle spice, but it was lacking a strong kick that I wanted. We've got a ton left and might try it with eggs for Sunday breakfast.

fish -- $4.87
dill -- $1.99
garlic -- $.59
vegetable stock -- $1.78
Total Cost of Poached Whole Fish: $9.23
($4.62 per serving)

tomato -- $1.70
bread -- $1.99
Total Cost of Salsa Romesco: $3.69
($.46 per serving)

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Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.