Tuesday, 2 June 2015
You can never please fussy eaters, but at least I tried... Cod with Black Olives and Tomatoes
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I so lurrrrvvvvvee fish. But, chez Lola and Finn, I am the only one who does. It means that fish is usually only cooked as a special treat for me if Phill is working away. It's a little thing that says, "Yes, you are without the person who keeps you on the straight and narrow, but here is some sea bream to make you feel a little better about it all. Open some wine, it'll all be cool."
But sometimes you need to dispense with a situation in which means that you please everyone but yourself, and make clear to all those doubters the fact that fish is good for you, and judicious choices of fish based on sustainability, coupled with some pretty damn fine ingredients are all you need to create something simple and delicious. That was the line I used to convince the fishyphobes around me with varying degrees of success. Lola and Finn were willing participants and Phill, well, if he didn't like it, he would probably make himself cheese on toast.
The simplicity of this dish, which I adapted from my little 'GoodFood 101 Mediterranean Dishes' is ideal for a weeknight where it seems that everything is going on around you like a vortex. Brownies, football, kids' homework, dirty PE kits, those year 8 books that it looks as though I won't get round to marking AGAIN can all be happening whilst this wonderful dish is created by just basically assembling it and leaving it a little while. The rest of your life might be a complete shambles but at least dinner is quite good.
The verdict? Well, Lola and Finn actually ate quite a bit of this, and whilst it might not rival the mighty chicken nugget in culinary awesomeness, there weren't as many moans as I anticipated. Phill? Well after dissecting it all with the meticulousness of a brain surgeon, because he was on the hunt for the inevitable bone which he ALWAYS finds, he ate some of it but the old adage is seemingly true: You can't please all the people all of the time. But don't let him put you off; his sandwich filling of choice when I first met him was peanut butter and cheese. It is possible that I am not dealing with a gourmand here...
Fish with Black Olives and Tomatoes, adapted from 'GoodFood 101 Mediterranean Dishes or from here
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad and 1 other
175g black olives in oil, stones removed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseeded, or 1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional - I used a half a red chilli)
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1/2 tsp dried oregano
400g can chopped tomatoes (Buy the best chopped tomatoes you can - I buy the San Manzano ones or chopped cherry tomatoes if you can get them).
4 boneless white fish fillets such as Icelandic cod or hoki, each weighing about 175g/6oz (I used cod)
Preheat the oven to fan 180C/conventional 200C/gas 6.
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil from the olives in an ovenproof pan. Tip in the onion and stir well, leave to cook for a minute or two and then give it another good stir. Add the tomatoes and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then add the olives.
Put the fish, skin side down, onto the sauce and drizzle over a splash more oil from the olive jar. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked. Check the seasoning once again. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve straight from the pan, with lemon wedges for squeezing over. To accompany this, I roasted some small potatoes in olive oil and seasoning.