So my husband decided that he was going on a diet, and he wanted to try his hand at baking fish to get more lean protein. Inside I sighed the biggest sigh ever, and I said to him "Don't you dare leave me stuck with this bag of frozen fish. You know how I feel about that stuff." Anyway, a couple months later and nothing has been done with that fish, of course. Humbug! After living in Miami, I got really picky about seafood being fresh. I can taste it when restaurants serve frozen seafood, and it's a huge pet peeve for me, so I definitely do not buy it for my house. The only time it's tolerable for me is when it's fried, and I almost never fry food, so that wasn't happening either. Well, my husband changed all of that for me because here I was, stuck with a family size bag of frozen Whiting. *Hmph*
Time to get creative! I was not about to do baked fish sitting in yucky frozen fish juices, so that was out. I certainly wasn't frying fish either, so I had no idea what to do with the stuff. I looked online to get my creative juices going, and I saw some fish baked in tomato sauce, tomato-based fish soup, fish in New Orleans Creole tomato sauce. Okay, now that I can work with. So, I decided to create something with my roma tomatoes and add lemon to hopefully mask the frozen fish taste. Aha! Portuguese-style seafood! So, I decided to create my own recipe inspired by Portuguese flavors. I added my own twist, and below is the result--a delicious, fresh, lemony seafood in a bright tomato and wine sauce splashed with lemon. SOOO good! Not only was the frozen fish edible, but it was delicious and high-end restaurant quality. It was a complete win! Thanks to my husband, a stellar dish was born!
This dish is very informal in terms of quantities. Everything is to taste. There's no need for strict measurements here. Feel free to adjust quantities to your preferences.
Portuguese-Inspired Poached Fish in Tomato Sauce
4 whiting fillets
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste or finely minced
1 can of Hunt's no salt added diced tomatoes (crushed would work great too) or equivalent amount of Roma tomatoes
zest of about 3/4 of a lemon
fresh lemon juice
~1/2 c of dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
sea salt and white pepper to taste (white pepper is smoky and much less abrasive in flavor than black. Leave pepper out of the sauce completely if you don't have white. Black is okay for the fish only. Trust me here.)
olive oil for sauteing
1. If frozen, thaw the fish completely and drain any liquid that remains. Cut the fillets in half, lengthwise. Season with salt, white or black pepper, all of the lemon zest, and a good drizzle of lemon juice on both sides of fish pieces. Set aside.
2. Saute the onion over medium heat, being sure to salt them well, in olive oil until softened. Once softened, add in the tomatoes, rosemary, and garlic, adjust salt, and cook until the sauce is thick and the tomatoes have broken down and become saucy.
3. Once the tomatoes break down, add in the wine. Just add until you reach the desired amount of sauce. Allow the wine taste to cook out for about 2 minutes or so.
4. Drop the temperature to medium low, add the fish directly on top of the sauce, cover, and allow it to poach for 10-12 minutes. Check it towards the end to avoid overcooking. You know when the fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork. It should not be hard, but tender and juicy.
Serve this delicious, super quick, gourmet delight with mashed, roasted, or fried potatoes, or white rice and the veggie of your choice. We had my roasted squash and tomatoes. YUM! Tell me how much you love this dish!
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