(photo: thanks to howtoeatlikeabird.com for providing the image)
Fresh fish requires very little manipulation and (quality) whole fish can be roasted in the oven with olive oil, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper (you can stuff the cavity of the fish with parsley and lemon slices if you want to get fancy). Firm fleshed fish like cod, red snapper, sole, halibut, and hake can also be steamed in a large pan with lemon juice, water, salt, and pepper.
However, when I want to add a complimentary flavor to a firm white fish I almost invetibaly turn to tomatoes; specifically, a type of fresh passato that can be cooked with or separate from the fish.
Recently, I added tomato to a few pan seared scallops and the results were wonderful; namely, the contrast of sweet scallops with slightly acidic tomato tasted great. Here’s the quick recipe:
- 4-5 medium sized Roma or Plum tomatoes
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 finely diced red onion
- 7-9 basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Sliver of butter
- 5-6 diver scallops (they tend to be less gritty and are technically a bit more ecologically sound)
Start by dropping the tomatoes into a boiling pot of water and let boil for about 5 minutes or until skin begins to peel (what you’re doing here is eliminating the nasty outer skin which isn’t very pleasant when cooked and paired with a delicate piece of fish). Drop the tomatoes in ice water after the recommended time and begin peeling the skin. Next halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds and stem. Grab the tomato pieces and both squeeze and mash the tomatoes with yours hand over a large pan (sounds weird but you’re essentially breaking down the tomato without a knife). Before placing the tomatoes in the pan, heat the pan and add olive oil, garlic (thinly sliced), and onion and cook at a very low temperate for 8-10 minutes (you want to extract the garlic and onion flavor without burning the ingredients). Simmer the ingredients, after adding the tomatoes, for another 10-12 minutes or until everything in the pan is nicely combined.
The scallops are next and they are very easy! Heat a medium sized pan and add a bit of olive oil and butter. At the same time coat both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot add the scallops and sear on both side for 1-3 minutes or until you begin seeing a nice brown crust (don’t move until you have a feeling a crust has developed).
Plate the scallops and drizzle the simmered tomatoes over the scallops and enjoy!