Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

RECIPE: Fish Fillets with Olives and Oregano

Boy Fish

Girl Fish

We have a new mattress! Granted, we do not have a bed to put it on, but we have a mattress! It came all rolled up into this little tube which slowly expanded after you unroll it. They thoughtfully provided another bag in case we were moving. You know, like we are ever going to be able to get a queen size mattress rolled up into a little tube again. So for now, we are just sleeping on the mattress. On the floor. Hey, it's better than our old bed, believe me.

The only thing is that it's bigger and to my surprise this is going to take some getting used to. It's weird because (1) I slept in a king-sized bed for probably five years before moving in with J. and (2) a bump up from full to queen is not that drastic of a change. But, I found that I kept waking up in the middle of the night wondering where my husband was and then realizing he was in bed with me, but just far away.

I always knew that after I fall asleep, cuddle time is over and I kind of roll away, because I always wake up on the far side of the bed. But what I didn't know, until last night, is that I guess throughout the night, in my sleep, I always kind of reach over with my leg to make sure J. is still there. So last night I kept waking up and finding myself reaching my leg over into space. But really he was just a little bit farther away then usual.

Anyway, the arrival of the mattress was cause for celebration, so I made dinner. The recipe I was making called for fillets of halibut, but the fillets of halibut at the market were insanely huge. One fillet would be enough for about 8 people. So I got cod instead, for no other reason than it was the only thing available of manageable size. It's not perfect for the recipe as it was thin, and the flesh is very flaky so it falls apart easily (hence the sort of fish piles in the pictures, rather than a nice solid fillet). It was good, but not great. The recipe called for searing before baking and I think with this particular fish, since it's not so thick, I really should have just baked it. Still, as long as it wasn't burnt or undercooked, I was relieved! The sauce and olives were delicious.

The recipe comes from Gourmet magazine, May 2006:


1. Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Pat fish dry (white fish fillets, should be 1 1/4 " thick) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sear fillets, skinned sides down, until browned well, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer, seared sides up, to baking dish (reserve skillet), then top each fillet with thin slices of lemon.

3. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Boil 30 seconds, then pour around fish. Cut pitted, brine cured green olives in half and scatter around fish and bake, uncovered, until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Transfer fish to a platter, then whisk 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 3/4 tsp. dried oregano), and 2 tablespoons e.v.o.o. into cooking liquid in baking dish. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over fish.


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