© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <email@example.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA
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Time: 60 minutes, or so
4 each red snapper, or halibut, 6oz pieces
fresh lime juice, as needed
3 tablespoon vegetable oil, preferably part olive oil
1 each onion, medium-size, thinly sliced
2 pound ripe red tomatoes, roasted, peeled, cored
2 each garlic clove, peeled, minced
20 each green olives, preferably manzanillo, chopped
2 tablespoon capers, Spanish
2 each jalapeño pepper, pickled, seeded, sliced
1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper, pickling juice
¾ teaspoon dried marjoram
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, plus a few sprigs for garnish
3 each bay leaf
1 each cinnamon sticks, 1-in each
2 each whole cloves
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
1 cup Fish Broth, bottled clam juice, or water
salt, as needed
Rinse the fillets, lay them in a noncorrosive dish and sprinkle them with lime juice and salt. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour.
In a large heat the oil over medium, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 7 or 8 minutes. While the onion is cooking, cut the peeled fresh tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze out the seeds into a strainer set over a bowl. Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch (3-cm) pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Collect all the juices on the cutting board and add to the tomatoes, along with those strained from the seeds. Canned tomatoes need only be lightly drained, then cut into 1-inch (3-cm) pieces, collecting the juices as you go.
Add the garlic to the lightly browned onion and stir for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes and their juice. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce some of the liquid. Divide the olives and capers between two small bowls, and set one aside to use as garnish. To the other bowl, add the jalapeño strips, pickling juice, mixed herbs, and chopped parsley. If you don't wish to have the whole bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, or cracked pepper in the finished sauce, wrap them in cheesecloth and tie with a string; otherwise, add them directly to the bowl containing the herbs.
When the tomatoes are ready, add the mixture of pickled things, herbs and spices, along with the fish broth (or clam juice or water). Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then taste for salt (and remove the cheesecloth-wrapped spices).
Finishing the dish:
Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the fillets from the refrigerator and rinse them again. Either poach them in the sauce on top of the stove or bake in the sauce, as follows.
The stove-top method:
Nestle the fish fillets in the sauce so they are well covered. Set the lid on the pan and place over a medium heat. After 4 minutes, turn the fillets over, re-cover and cook 2 or 3 minutes longer, until a fillet will flake under firm pressure.
The baking method:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the fillets in a single layer in a lightly greased baking dish. Spoon the sauce over them, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish just flakes when pressed firmly with a fork at the thickest part.
Serve the poached or baked fillets on warm dinner plates with lots of the sauce, garnished with a sprinkling of the reserved capers and olives and a sprig of parsley.