Friday, 22 August 2014

Over the Top!

Merluzzo alla Mediterranea, Gratinato al Forno
Oven-Baked Mediterranean Cod


Fish on Friday? Well, why ever not!?!?

Even though I am not the greatest eater of fish, every now and again it makes a nice change... I suppose! If you do something with it that IS a change from the same-old, same-old recipes that is!

There are many recipes combining cod with tomatoes or tomato sauce and olives in Italian cuisine, but I decided to add a few other ingredients and to make what is basically a traditional dish my own. And yes- having caper berries and fennel, as well as delicious, crispy bread crumbs added made it a little more tasty, a little more Sicilian and a whole lot more ME! I think you might like it too!


Crispy, herb-laced bread crumbs, moist and delicious fish and a little medley of juicy vegetables beneath- this dish had it all! And the best thing is- that it is really easy to make!


Ingredient time! 1 small red pepper, 1 small bulb of fennel, 1 shallot and 1 small fillet of cod, 15 cherry tomatoes or so, 4-5 leaves of basil, a little parsley, 1 cupful of bread crumbs, 5-6 black olives and 3 large caper berries.


And the result was a wonderfully satisfying, tasty and delicious light supper! So much nicer than a fried fish dish- with all of these other, simply and yet delicious ingredients... you have go to say, "what's not to like?!?"


I cut the fennel into thin slices, the paprika into slightly thicker slices, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and the shallot nice and finely.


I seasoned the bread crumbs with salt, pepper, finely chopped parsley and fennel greens.


 First sautée the shallot and the fennel together in a little olive oil.


Next, add the cherry tomatoes, the basil and the red pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.


Last but not least were the olives and caper berries, which I stirred-in briefly to get nicely integrated. I let these warm through but didn't stir too much as I didn't want the tomatoes to cook for too long and to lose their consistency. And in the meantime, whilst that was going on, I turned on my oven to the highest setting to get nice and hot in advance.


Moving swiftly, so as to not let the vegetables cool down, I filled them into a baking dish...

 ...and placed my cod on top, added a pinch of salt and a good drizzle of olive oil...


 ... and then coated everything with plenty of those herb-infused bread crumbs, followed by a light drizzle of olive oil, all over.

I covered the baking dish with foil and popped it into the oven for 10-15 minutes at 200°C- enough time for enough steam to build up, to almost cook the fish through and to make the bread crumbs become moist and hot, filled with flavor from the herbs and the olive oil...


 ...and after 10-15 minutes, things should be looking like this- and smelling absolutely wonderful!

All it needs now is a final 5-10 minutes without the foil to get nice and crispy and brown.

A little something like this! And yes, thank you- I know... it DOES look totally delicious!


There isn't much that needs to be added to this picture in the way of words to describe how wonderful this tasted... you can just see it!

 Lots of rich flavors and very little work to prepare this, tells me that this may well be cooked again soon for friends! You can't go far wrong with ingredients like this!


 Fancy a bite? Of course you do... I do too!

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