Recently I have come to love Jamie Oliver's TV shows. Jamie has a democratic and kind sensibility to cooking, and he uses local and fresh ingredients whenever possible. He also did his best to alter the US school lunch program in its approach to feeding our school children healthy meals.
Recently Jamie made a sausage and roasted tomato dish that I thought was just lovely. The ingredients in the resulting sauce reminded me of some of the fish dishes that were concocted in a restaurant on the Outer Cape, where I worked for many summers. So, I replaced the sausage with haddock, added some vermouth, and left out chopped garlic, thinking that some extra roasting would create a succulent sauce that could be reduced or left as a broth. The magic of being left with a delicious sauce as a result of roasting tomatoes in the oven and adding good fish to enrich the sauce makes this one of my favorite "aha" recipes.
You can use cod, haddock, mahi mahi, etc. based on what is fresh in your area. —Bevi
Test Kitchen Notes
Fresh and bright; this dish is a simple yet delightful dish that will help with the seasonal food transition. Serve as a shared dish still in the pan with warm crusty bread. —Elme Jordaan
1/2 to 3/4 pounds
haddock, cod, pollack, mahi mahi
tomatoes, roughly 2 inches in diameter; or 2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
bay leaf, dried, or 2 fresh
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With a paring knife, gouge out the stem end of the tomatoes. Pack the tomatoes stem side down in a baking dish sized so the tomatoes are tightly crowded together and there is no extra space in the dish. Alternatively, halve the tomatoes crosswise and place the cut sides down in the roasting pan. If you are using cherry or grape tomatoes, simply prick each tomato with a knife and continue with the recipe.
Throw in the herbs; add the balsamic vinegar and dry vermouth. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the olive oil to cover all the tomatoes.
Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 325 and allow to cook until the tomato skins begin to get wrinkly and brown. Work toward reducing the liquid. The forgiving part of this recipe is within this step. Should you have late arrivals, you can stretch out this step before you add the fish.
Return the heat to 375, and pack the fish fillets into the baking dish, making sure to submerge the fillets into the tomato concoction. Bake for 30 minutes.
You have two choices at this point. Either serve the dish as a fish "soup", and make sure you have plenty of bread to douse up the broth; or, pour off the juices from the roasted tomatoes, and reduce them in a skillet until the sauce becomes thicker. Then you can plate the fish and tomatoes atop the reduced sauce.