baked fish with lot's of tomato sauce and parsley (ψάρι στον φούρνο)

I absolutely love baked fish.  And since I'm in the final stretch of my PhD, and focus skills are imperative more than ever before, fish is an obvious choice.  My love of seafood has its roots in Greece of course.  The diverse and rich cuisine of the Greek islands is something really special. Perhaps the greatest meals I have had in my life were back in 1993 when I visited Crete with my cousins ('ta Mameletzakia'), and for two weeks all we ate was red mullet ('barbounia'), grilled octopus, and calamari.  Life can be so beautiful at times.  

The following recipe is simple, but the result is something anything but that.   It takes a long time to bake, and you would suspect this method would cause the fish to dry out, but that's not the case.  I assure you this is a keeper for your recipe collection.  My very harsh critic and former housemate Magdis thinks this is one of my best dishes.  Also, one variation to this is to add 1/2 cup of chopped mint and 1-2 diced red chillies to the sauce.

Serves 4 people
1 kg fresh cod/halibut/monkfish cut in 3-4" pieces
1 can of quality organic diced tomatoes (~400g)
1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley (doesn't matter if it's flat leaf or not)
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large stick of organic celery (huge difference between organic and non-organic when it comes to your choice of celery)
juice from 2 really large lemons
1 teaspoon of sugar (necessary) + 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (which is not optional)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5-6 new potatoes, washed
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celsius.  
  2. Wash fish in cold water, and place the cut pieces flat in a medium-size Pyrex® (9").
  3. In a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, except the potatoes, and stir with a whisk (or two forks) until you have a nice mixture.
  4. Pour mixture over the fish until you have covered it all evenly.  Cover Pyrex® in aluminum foil (this is an absolute MUST), and place in the oven for 40 minutes.  
  5. After 40 minutes is up, remove foil, add seasoned potatoes to which you have drizzled a little olive oil already in a bowl, increase the oven temperature to 195 degrees, and bake the fish with the potatoes for another 45 minutes.  Just make sure you keep your eye on the fish so you don't burn it.  What you should look for are really deep colours of the sauce (but not black).  
  6. Remove from oven and serve with some fresh sourdough bread.  Theiko!


Helen said...

Sounds amazing, can't wait to try it.

Laurie Constantino said...

The mint and chilis sound like ver good additions.