My friend, Fletch and I decided to have a little date night a few weekends ago. Neither of us were really in the mood to go out or spend money, and these days I have plenty of wine that I am hoarding, so I invited him over for dinner and a bottle of vino. Fletch requested fish so on my way home I swung by Whole Foods to see what was fresh at the seafood counter. It being the weekend before Passover, they had some fresh whole whitefish for a great price (though, little about this meal was Passover-friendly). The butcher cleaned and filleted the fish for me, leaving the skin on – and it took him nearly 25 minutes! I missed two buses waiting for him, but I was happy to take home the freshest fish available. I decided to prepare it very simply with some herbs, spices and lemon and serve a side of Israeli couscous with zucchini, tomatoes and spinach.
Baked White Fish Filet (serves 2-4)
- one whole whitefish, filleted with most of the bones removed
- 1 TB olive oil, plus olive oil spray
- sea salt
- lemon pepper
- dried dill
- dried oregano
- smoked paprika
- 1/2 shallot, diced
- 6 small cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 lemon, sliced
Israeli Couscous with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Spinach (serves 2)
- 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1/2 shallot, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup spinach, chopped coarsley
- 1 TB fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil. Lay the fish fillets in the pan, skin side down. Drizzle the olive oil over each fillet and season generously with salt, lemon pepper, dill, oregano and paprika. Top with garlic, shallots and lemon slices. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes apart easily.
Meanwhile, prepare couscous in a medium pot (boil a little more than 1/2 cup water, add couscous, cover and reduce heat, cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is fully absorbed). In a large nonstick pan, heat olive oil over a medium flame. Add shallots and zucchini and saute for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue to saute over low heat for 5 more minutes. Once couscous is done, add to the pan with the tomatoes and zucchini. Stir in spinach and oregano and saute for about a minute, until spinach is wilted. Stir in the Parmesan just before serving.
Fletch and I found the fish to be a little boney, but well-seasoned and very light. And since we’re both big fans of Israeli couscous, we gobbled it all up. I paired this meal with a bottle of Thomas George 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley, which I purchased on a trip to Healdsburg this past Labor Day weekend. It was one of my favorite wines of the weekend, and I regret not purchasing more than one bottle. The wine is very light and refreshing, with notes of citrus and tropical fruit. The Sauvignon Blanc paired well with the fish and couscous, highlighting the lemon and balancing out the spice. Though, we both agreed that we could have drank this bottle without any food at all!