Every month or so I tell myself that we are going to eat more fish. I say, 1-2 times a week, that's doable. And then a few months go by and I realize I haven't cooked any fish at all. Now this is really not an excuse, especially since our freezer is generally filled with salmon from my fisherman of a husband. It just always slips my mind. The most ridiculous part is, fish is extremely easy to prepare, and really, really fast to make. So here we are, I'm saying it again, more fish for dinner!
A few months ago I was in Sacramento on a trip with the kind folks at Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes. I was able to tour the farms (hello 102 degree weather!), picking tomatoes and eating them on the spot. Visit the factory, watching the tomatoes go from ground to truck to can, and then spending an incredible afternoon tasting all of their products at the local Le Cordon Bleu. And I'll admit something, before I went on this trip, I didn't think too much about canned tomatoes. I can go on and on about fresh tomatoes, but canned, I didn't see the importance. That was until I sat down, and tasted each of their products, and learned (and saw!) how they go from the field to the can in just a few hours! That's incredible.
So when I knew that I wanted to make poached fish using wine, bay leaves, and maybe some olives, the first thought that came to me was those tomatoes I tasted. I'm a big believer in creating recipes that are fun, full of flavor, and really simply highlighting the best of the ingredients. The recipe is quick, ready in about 17 minutes. For the most part is pretty cost efficient (I love using saffron, but between you and me, you can skip it here). And best of all, this dish is comforting, served alongside a big loaf of bread and a large glass of wine.
Poached Halibut in Tomato Sauce + Olives
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for serving
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28oz. can whole peeled tomatoes (my favorite is Muir Glen)
1/4 cup dry white win
2 bay leaves
pinch of saffron threads (optional)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
salt and pepper
4 small white fish fillets, halibut or cod are my personal favorites
loaf of your favorite bread
In a large skillet (make sure you have a lid) over medium heat, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring for about 2-3 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add in the whole can of tomatoes, juices and all, and with a wooden spoon, smash down on the tomatoes to begin breaking them up. Add in the wine, bay leaves, saffron (if using) and kalamata olives. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce the heat, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes, crushing the tomatoes as you go. Season with salt and pepper.
Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides, and add to the large skillet, positioning the fillets on top of the tomato sauce, giving them enough space between each other. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 6-10 minutes. Checking them after 5 minutes to see if they are done. When they are opaque and begin to flake they are ready. If they fillets are of different sizes, remove the smaller fillets once done, while continuing to cook the large pieces.
Serve the fillets in a deep plate or bowl, spooning the tomato sauce over top. Drizzle with good olive oil, a big pinch of salt, and lots of bread to dip.