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Mediterranean Baked White Fish Fillets with Parmesan Polenta

The Mediterranean diet is renowned for its emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, healthy fats, and vibrant flavors. This recipe Mediterranean Baked White Fish Fillets captures the essence of this culinary tradition in a stunning and easy-to-prepare dish

Imagine tender, flaky white fish bathed in a vibrant tomato and herb sauce, nestled atop a creamy bed of parmesan polenta. Sun-dried tomatoes add a touch of sweetness, while briny olives and capers provide a delightful salty counterpoint. Fresh herbs like oregano and thyme infuse the dish with an aromatic earthiness, transporting your taste buds straight to the shores of the Mediterranean.

The Versatility of White Fish fillets

The magic of this recipe lies in its adaptability! While the dish shines with mild-flavored white fish, you can explore a range of options depending on what your local market offers. Here’s a breakdown of some fantastic choices:

  • Classic Options: For a surefire success, look for snapper, branzino, rockfish, cod, pollack, haddock, flounder, or halibut. These fish boast a delicate flavor that complements the sauce beautifully and stays moist during cooking.
  • Luxe Alternatives: Occasionally, you might find some special guests in the seafood section, like wahoo (ono), mahi-mahi, or swordfish. These fish are slightly lower in fat than their mild-flavored counterparts. However, their delicate texture makes them ideal for a quick simmer in the sauce. This ensures they stay incredibly moist and absorb all the delicious flavors without drying out. While these options might not be your everyday grocery staples, they add a delightful treat to your meal when available.

Choosing the Perfect Fish: A Sustainable Approach

Picking the right fish isn’t just about taste and texture; sustainability plays a crucial role. To make an informed decision, head over to the fantastic resource: https://www.seafoodwatch.org/. This website from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program offers valuable guidance on making ocean-friendly seafood choices. Simply enter the type of fish you’re considering, and they’ll provide recommendations based on its current sustainability status.

Polenta: A Creamy Canvas

Polenta, a creamy cornmeal porridge, serves as the perfect base for this dish. It absorbs the delicious flavors of the sauce while providing a comforting and filling element. Adding parmesan cheese elevates the polenta to a luxurious level, creating a delightful contrast with the vibrant tomato topping.

A Symphony of Flavors

The magic of this recipe lies in the interplay of textures and flavors. Here’s what makes it so special:

  • Tender Fish: Baked to flaky perfection, the white fish absorbs the essence of the Mediterranean sauce.
  • Vibrant Tomato Sauce: Sun-dried tomatoes add a touch of sweetness, while olives and capers offer a salty depth. Fresh herbs like oregano and thyme infuse the dish with an aromatic earthiness.
  • Creamy Polenta: Infused with parmesan cheese, the polenta provides a luxurious and comforting base.

Beyond the Recipe: Customization Tips

This recipe serves as a springboard for your culinary creativity. Here are some ways to personalize it:

  • Spice it Up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
  • Vegetable Medley: Incorporate your favorite chopped vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms into the sauce for added texture and nutrients.
  • Herb Garden Delight: Swap the oregano and thyme for your favorite fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or dill.

A Weeknight Wonder

This dish comes together quickly and easily, making it a perfect choice for busy weeknights. With minimal preparation and a short baking time, you can have a restaurant-worthy meal on your table in under an hour.

The Final Note: A Celebration of Freshness

Mediterranean Baked White Fish Fillets with Parmesan Polenta is a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients and bold flavors. It’s a dish that nourishes your body and soul, transporting you to the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean with every bite. So, gather your loved ones, fire up the oven, and experience the magic of Mediterranean cuisine in your own kitchen.

Mediterranean Baked White Fish Fillets with Parmesan Polenta

Mediterranean Baked White Fish Fillets with Parmesan Polenta

Seafood and Mediterranean flavors go together like clockwork. This is such an easy recipe that is made in one pan and baked. This dish works equally as well with any local or regional white fish I happen to have on hand, like lingcod, halibut, or rockfish.Finally, to finish, I've made a creamy polenta using two parts whole milk, one part water, and a small amount of grated Parmesan for taste and texture. There's no need for side dishes because this seafood dish tastes so decadent. However, if you're serving this to dinner guests, a mixed green salad dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette would be ideal.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Skillet

Ingredients
  

  • pounds skinless white fish cut into 3 or 4 pieces, removed from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes prior to cooking
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 canned tomatoes slightly drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1 small lemons thinly sliced
  • Chopped fresh basil for garnish optional

POLENTA

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup quick-cook polenta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Season the fish with salt and pepper; set aside.
    1½ pounds skinless white fish, Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat and then add the onion. Cook just until soft and wilted. Then, stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 medium onion, 4 garlic cloves
  • Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, paprika, and olives.
    8 canned tomatoes, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ⅓ cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • Nestle the fish in the sauce and top with the lemon slices.
    1 small lemons
  • Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Fish cook through in about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Most fish fillets are ½ to 1 inch thick, so I find 10 to 15 minutes is a good range for this dish, since it’s being cooked in a sauce.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and let the fish rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with basil, if desired.
    Chopped fresh basil for garnish

Make the polenta:

  • Combine the milk and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, slowly stir in the polenta.
    2 cups whole milk, 1 cup water, 1 cup quick-cook polenta
  • Continue to stir until it thickens and is soft and creamy, adjusting the heat as necessary. Remove from the heat and fold in the Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    ¼ cup grated Parmesan, Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Keyword baked, fish, fish fillets, Roasted, seafood, white fish
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