VISIT TO A FISH MARKET
Visiting a local fish market is always good idea to find fresh, quality and various seafood. Clamps, shrimps, blue fish, white fish, octopus, squid, crabs…everything is available, mostly caught night before and today is at your disposal. A great source of food and inspiration.
When visiting fish market I usually have idea what I want to buy and what I want to cook. However it is not rare that I change my mind at fish market itself. Sometimes you can’t miss a chance to purchase a good deal, a fresh catch of sardines or shrimps, a great specimen of red gurnard (one of my favorites), red porgy or dentex.
My personal opinion when preparing quality white fish is – less is more. Salt, olive oil and fish itself is more than enough. 3 ingredients make the base. One more important thing is not to overcook the fish. It should retain flavors, moisture and aroma of the sea. Regarding herbs and spices we should stick to those which are relevant to the cuisine we are preparing. For mediterranean cuisine typical herbs and spices are bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, parsley… And of course seasoning cooked fish with citruses (lemon juice), mixture of olive oil, parsley and garlic are most common choices.
In following example I will share with you my personal way of preparing whole white fish in the oven, along with side dish (vegetables as you will see) so it is fast, simple and delicious. I like to combine flavors of fish and vegetables, preparing it in one pot.
Digression: Herbs and spices – both are derived from plants. In culinary context herbs are referred to the leafy part of the plant (dried or fresh). In spices category are considered seeds, berries, twigs, bark, roots or flower of the plant (dried usually).
White Fish 0,8 – 1,0 kg
1 kg of potatoes or sweet potatoes
200g brussels sprouts
150g of carrot
80g of olives
1 bigger onion ( cut in 4 pieces)
- Scale and clean the fish (depending on species), rinse under water and dry it in paper towels. Make vertical cuts (3-4 depending on the size of the fish, not to deep) on each side of the fish. Season it with salt and olive oil, rub it in the fish skin, cuts and inside of the fish.
- Grease the pot with olive oil. Peel, clean and dry vegetables. Place vegetables in the pot. Place fish on top of the vegetables. Drizzle with some more olive oil.
- In preheated oven at 200C (400F) insert the pot for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you can decrease temperature to 180C (360F) for another 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the fish). Good indicators are fish eyes turning white, fish skin exposing meat near back bone etc.
If you prefer steamed/cooked version you can cover the pot with aluminum foil and cook/steam the fish.
- Serve with season salad.
- TIP: If you like smell and aroma of citrus and herbs when eating a fish you can place a slice of lemon and 2-3 bay leaves or small branch of rosemary inside the fish. While cooking the fish, leave those ingredients inside. Take it out before serving.