Friday, April 26, 2013

Mediterranean Fish

by Sheila Connolly

It occurs to me that recently I've been giving you quite a few recipes that use a lot of butter.  Did I mention I love butter?  Blame two grandfathers who were dairy farmers—it must be in the genes. But I still feel guilty, so here is a dish that is actually healthy, at least in comparison.

My husband and I usually eat fresh fish at least once a week.  Half the time it's salmon (all right, farm-raised); otherwise we choose whatever is caught in the U.S. and never frozen.  That varies from week to week.  This recipe will work with any firm-fleshed white fish.  It's very loosely based on a Venetian recipe from James McNair's Fish Cookbook (which has beautiful pictures by the author).

Mediterranean Fish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fresh white fish filets (we usually estimate a half-pound per person)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the spices and rub them well into the fish filets.  Let the fish sit while you prepare the other ingredients.

¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1 Tblsp granulated sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar (you may use lemon juice if you prefer)
1 ½ cups red wine
2 cups chopped, peeled tomatoes (canned are fine)

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until they are golden (do not burn!), about ten minutes.  Add the sugar, stir, and cook for another minute.

Stir in the vinegar, wine and tomatoes.  You can add some more cumin, coriander and oregano if you like.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce is almost thick enough to hold its shape—this may take up to 45 minutes (keep an eye on it so it doesn't stick).  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the fish filets in flour (shake off the excess).  In a saute pan, sauté the fish filets until they are lightly browned, turning once.  Do not overcook!

Place the fish filets in a greased pan and distribute the sauce over them.  Cook in the preheated oven 15-20 minutes, just to let the ingredients blend.

When you are serving, arrange the filets on a plate, spoon some sauce over them, and, if you like, sprinkle with crumbled feta or goat cheese.  The creaminess of the cheese offsets the tartness of the vinegar-based sauce.


  1. We are always looking for new ways for cooking fish, Sheila. This looks lovely.

    I think that sauce would be very nice on other things too.


  2. Love the combo of flavors, including the feta cheese crumble at the end. Leftovers would make a tasty wrap sandwich, too (a kind of Med. fish taco).

  3. I think those would be delicious, even without the sauce. Or maybe I should use sauces more . . . You're lucky that you can get fish that hasn't been frozen.


  4. Sheila, I love this combination of flavors. Yummy. I think I could live in Tuscany.

    Daryl / Avery