Chef's Note: This method of cooking fish keeps the flesh moist and juicy. You can also do it on an outdoor grill. You need thick fillets with the skin left on, and the oil must be a good extra virgin. The dressing is simple and tasty. Serve it with boiled potatoes.
- 2 thick monkfish, hake, bream, or other firm-fleshed white fish fillets (6 to 7 ounces each), skin left on
- 4 to 5 tablespoons of California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- 5 large garlic cloves, sliced
- ½ to 1 small dried or fresh chile pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Step 1: Season the fish with salt. Grease a large heavy skillet or plancha (a flat griddle) with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat to just below the smoking point. Place the fillets skin side down in the skillet or on the griddle and cook over medium heat. The fillets will gradually cook through to the top and do not need turning over. They are done when the flesh is opaque throughout and flakes when you cut into it. If the fillets are very thick, this can take up to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, turn the fillets over and cook for 2 to 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fillet.)
Step 2: Meanwhile, for the dressing, very gently heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil with the garlic and chile pepper in a small pan until the garlic is just lightly golden and crunchy (do not let it turn brown). Take off the heat and add the vinegar and parsley. Serve the fish hot from the pan, with the dressing poured over.
Variation: Have the fishmonger butterfly small bream or other small fish and remove the backbone. Cook them as above, skin side down only.
Recipe courtesy of The Food of Spain
(HarperCollins, 2011), by Claudia Roden
Reprinted with permission from the publisher and Claudia Roden