Baked fish in tomato sauce
FISH AND THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Baked fish in tomato sauce is a meal commonly enjoyed in the Greek and Cypriot cuisine, other than grilled fish with lemon/EVOO. Components of the Mediterranean diet include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and a higher intake of fish in comparison to red meat. As part of the Mediterranean diet, fish plays a major role in helping to maintain healthy habits.
SIMPLE AND LIGHT FLAVOURS
When you have good quality fish to work with, you don’t need to overseason it. The baked fish is flavoured simply with fennel seeds, garlic and lemon. The combination of these spices works perfectly together to give the fish a very fragrant aroma. The fennel makes the fish have an anise taste, as well as the depth of flavour but not very overpowering.
ORANGE TOMATO PASSATA
The Mala Peruviana passata I used for the sauce, supplied by the Food Philosopher, uses handpicked heirloom orange tomatoes from the groves of Thiva, Greece. The orange tomato passata is thinner than others, quite refreshing and sweet. What impressed me was that it did not taste too salty or over-processed, unlike other sauces. The key is all in the way that the passata is prepared to be bottled: cold-pressed and then gently poached.
THE COOKING PROCESS
Preparing for this baked fish in tomato sauce is easy as there aren’t a lot of ingredients to cut and the cooking times for each stage are short. Once the seasoned tomato sauce is allowed to thicken slightly then the fish and broccolini only require 15 min to bake. Very easy and simple to do!
BAKED FISH IN TOMATO SAUCE
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
• 4 frozen barramundi fillets 500g, see notes1
• 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 500 mL orange tomato passata
• ½ tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 tbs lemon juice
• 10 parsley sprigs, chopped
• 1 bunch broccolini, cut in thirds
1. Defrost the barramundi fillets as per package instructions, usually under cold water or allow it to thaw on its own overnight in the fridge.
2. Preheat the oven (fan-forced to 220°C). Add the olive oil to a large ovenproof frying pan (see notes2) on medium heat. Toast the fennel seeds for a min until they become a bit fragrant but before they burn. Pour the orange tomato passata (see notes3) into the frying pan, stir in the seasonings (garlic powder, pepper and salt) and let it simmer on low heat for 10min so it can slightly thicken.
3. After that time, stir in the lemon juice and 2 tbs of the chopped parsley (leave the rest for garnish in the end). Arrange the fish fillets in the pan and the chopped broccolini. Place the ovenproof frying pan in the oven for 15min or until the fish is cooked through. The broccolini softens and roasts nicely but if you prefer it to be crunchier, then add it in a bit after you start cooking the fish.
4. Take the food out of the oven and enjoy warm with some crusty bread or some rice and salad.
1. You may replace the barramundi fillets for any other white fish fillets of your choice such as snapper or cod.
2. If you do not have an ovenproof frying pan then you can prepare the sauce using a frying pan on the stovetop and then transfer it to a small baking tray with the fish and broccolini to go in the oven.
3. This particular brand/type of passata is quite thin but thickens as it simmers. If you use other brands you might need to add a bit of water to begin with.