Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pesci e Patate al Forno (Oven Roasted Fish and Potatoes)

This is a recipe that I created myself, inspired by a Patate al Forno recipe, which is a dish of oven-roasted potatoes and tomatoes that is made in Abruzzo and Apulia.  The layers of potatoes and tomatoes, with a generous sprinkling of cheese is a great side dish.  However, I was trying to make a main dish.  So out with the tomato and in with the fish.  In this case, I bought some halibut, although any fish will do. 

This dish is fairly simply to make, requiring only fish, potatoes, sage, olive oil and a lot of grated cheese, along with salt and pepper.  The key is to slice the potatoes as thinly as possible, so that they cook fast.  Also, you should grate the cheese as finely as possible, so that it can brown faster.  And use a hard cheese, like Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano.

This dish is very "user-friendly," because you can tweak it any way you want.  You could add some diced garlic, shallots or onions.  You could also use other herbs, such as rosemary or basil.  You could even use different fish, although that will most likely change the cooking times. 

PESCI E PATATE AL FORNO (Oven Roasted Fish and Potatoes)
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

About 1 pound of fish, cut into even sized pieces
4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 pound of Pecorino Romano, grated finely (at least)
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
Sage, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1.  Prepare the baking dish. Spread the olive oil along the bottom and sides of a glass casserole dish.  Then lay the potato slices on the bottom of the dish, making sure that the entire bottom of the dish is covered.

2.  Assemble the fish and potatoes.  Place the fish on top of the potato slices.  Salt and pepper the fish generously.  Apply a liberal amount of Pecorino Romano and sage.  Cover the fish with the remaining potato slices.  Once again, apply a liberal amount of Pecorino Romano and Sage.

3.    Bake the fish.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the casserole dish in the oven and cook for about 35 to 45 minutes.  When the cheese begins to brown and the fish begins to flake, it is done.

4.   Plate the dish. Plate each piece of fish with a good amount of the potatoes. Serve immediately.

This recipe is my quick and easy version of much more complicated recipes.  Overall, it turned out well.  Both Clare and I enjoyed this dish.  I'll be making it again, perhaps with some of the tweaks I mentioned above.



Alice Powers said...

Sounds great. Check out the wonderful food blog from Pulgia: The Awaiting Table. The writer runs a cooking school in Lecce -- both his writing and his cooking are amazing.

Keith Bolek said...

Thanks Alice! I will definitely check out that blog. I'm always looking for good food blogs.

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