Pesce Alla Caponata Arrosto-
I am often asked for ideas on preparing fish. For some, there is a little fear involved. For others, they think perhaps they just can’t do it properly at home. FISH WITH ROASTED CAPONATA will take all those worries away. It is easy, versatile, and I think, foolproof!
Fish was almost a staple in our house when I was growing up. My family prepared and ate it often – all kinds of fish. Because my father, Attilio, was a joyful and avid fisherman of fresh and salt water, we experienced many types of fish at our table. There was never a shortage of ways to prepare them. When it came to gifts from the sea, he often baked the fish simply with olive oil and a few herbs. This is the way I prepared my fish for this recipe.
When baking, roasting, or grilling fish, your greatest success will be with “meatier” or more firm varieties such as swordfish, cod, sea bass, or halibut. These types of fish can stand the heat longer and tend not to fall apart in the process. For this demonstration, I selected swordfish, but the choice is yours.
About caponata: Caponata is one of the wonders of the Sicilian culinary world. It is a mixture of vegetables most often including eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, olives etc. You might liken it to the French Ratatouille. The difference is that caponata is usually spicier and has a sweet/sour flavor. Usually, it is prepared on top of the stove. However, here, I elected to roast it. Why? I love roasted vegetables and the roasting makes a much easier and quicker preparation. To me, a roasted caponata is the perfect way to dress baked fish and take it from bland to “out of sight” delicious! Everyone will love fish prepared this way.
Tip: If you have leftover caponata – you are in for a treat. Add it to your cold cut sandwiches or paninis. – OR – Serve it at room temperature with crackers or bread as an appetizer. Heaven!
A word about Castelvetrano olives: Everyone who frequents my website and facebook page,knows how much I LOVE olives of all kinds. Perhaps, my favorite, definitely my husband’s favorite is the Castelvetrano Olive.
The Castelvetranos are grown in western Sicily and are named for a town in the Trapani area. These are the almost blue-green olives you find at olive bars. They are also found in jars now in the condiment section of your grocer. They stand out from the rest with their vivid color. They are mild, sweet, and meaty. Many people, who are not fond of olives, love the Castelvetranos. Just pop one of them in your mouth and you’ll know what I mean. They almost melt in your mouth with their wonderful buttery flavor – not tart or tangy or sharp or salty like many others. These are special — which is why I decided to use them in this recipe instead of a sharper choice.
This fish dish will astound you with its flavor. You take a very ordinary, otherwise plain piece of fish to a totally different place with the addition of the roasted caponata. It is a memorable dish that is as suitable for an elegant table as for a family meal.
FISH WITH ROASTED CAPONATA
(PESCE ALLA CAPONATA ARROSTO)
Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: Cook 20-25 minutes
2 lb. Halibut, Sea Bass, Cod or Swordfish about an inch thick (1/2 lb. per person)
Salt and Pepper
For the caponata:
2 C. Cubed eggplant
1 Clove Garlic – chopped
1/2 Onion – chopped coarsely
1 C. Halved Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
1/3 C. Olive Oil
1/8 C. Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 C. Chopped Roasted Red Peppers (For instructions on roasting your own peppers easily, visit this post: Sovana and the Mystery Dish
2 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Parsley
1/2 C. Castelvetrano Olives – halved (Read about these in the above text.)
2 Tbsp. Capers, rinsed and drained
Chopped Fresh Parsley for garnish
Prepare your fish by brushing or drizzling with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Then use the cooking method you prefer: grilling, baking (400 degrees for about 20 minutes), etc.
For the caponata: Chop your eggplant, garlic, onion, and tomatoes. Mix them together in a bowl.
Combine your olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Pour this over your vegetables in the bowl and toss.
Spread this mixture out on a baking pan covered with foil.
Roast this in a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until tender.
In the last 5 minutes of roasting, add the roasted peppers, parsley, olives, and capers. Toss together and finish roasting.
Pour the Roasted Caponata over the top of your cooked fish, garnish with more chopped fresh parsley, and serve.
This recipe takes all the stress and complication out of serving fish. You will love serving your FISH WITH ROASTED CAPONATA almost as much as you will enjoy eating it!
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks