Sunday, January 8, 2012

Herb Steamed Fish with Vegetables

Pan with Four Cooked Fish Fillets on Bed of Veggies
Tilapia on Bed of Veggies

Recipe by Robin

While preparing one of my most popular recent posts, Yankee Magazine’s Rosemary Chicken with Fennel, I was reminded of a similar dish that I make with fish. My mom used to make delicious chicken fricassee flavored with carrots, celery, and a few onions, mostly in winter when few other veggies were available.  I reworked this idea once when the only veggies that we had in the house to accompany our fish were carrots and celery. This one-dish meal is quick and easy to prepare, and makes a light yet warming meal.

Carrots and Celery Being Stirred with Sauteed Leeks
Adding Carrots and Celery to Sauteed Leeks
Originally I plopped whole albacore loins on top of the veggies, and steamed them for about 15 minutes. Though delicious, albacore loins are quite a bit more costly these days, so I usually use (sustainable) black cod, North or South American-raised tilapia, or other thick white fish fillet, and steam for less time.

Typically, I just use carrots and celery, but I had a couple of leeks so chopped them finely and added them. You could use onion if you have it on hand. Other veggies can be added to the mix, and since they’ll be stewed they don’t need to be particularly fresh. I’ve tried chopped leftover red bell peppers and halved cherry tomatoes. Feel free to experiment with the veggies, but do include both carrots and celery, which along with the wine and fish juices make a flavorful broth that can be saved and used as fish stock for soups.

Use whatever combination of dry Italian herbs that you have on hand. I often use a blend of oregano, marjoram, and basil with a little thyme or rosemary. You can use either a pre-blended mix that you purchase, or blend your own.

Pan with Four Raw Fish Fillets on Bed of Veggies
Before Steaming Fish, Sprinkle with Herbs
Herb Steamed Fish with Veggies
serves 4 - 6

1 – 2 tsp. butter
2 leeks, finely sliced (optional)
4 – 6 cups carrots and celery, cut in 1 – 2 inch pieces
1 ½ - 2 lb. tilapia or other thick white fish fillet
2 cups veggie or other broth
½ cup white wine
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. dry mixed Italian herbs

Use an amount of butter that is proportional to the amount of veggies on hand. Start with 1 tsp. if you have 4 cups of carrots and celery and no other veggies. If using the leeks, start with 2 tsp. If you have more veggies but no leeks, use something in between.

In an electric frying pan or other large and deep pan, sauté leeks (if using) in butter for 3 minutes. Add carrots and celery and sauté 10 minutes, stirring around occasionally.

Add broth and wine. Simmer covered 7 – 10 minutes, until veggies are mostly soft.

Lay fish fillets on top of veggies. Sprinkle with mixed herbs. Cover and steam fish approximately 7 minutes (less if you use thin fillets), till opaque.

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