First, Catch Your Fish…
Baked Fish with Pasta Shells
Gosh my first blog. Well, a few things prompted me to put together this site, one of which was just to have the recipes that I make all in one place instead of scrappy bits of paper, thumbed cookbooks where I have to remember what adaptations I made…I did once try to put together an indexed rolodex thingy to keep in the kitchen, that project lasted about 5 minutes. Most of the things I make are in my head, which is not a reliable place to be when you are so busy and preoccupied to remember e.g. to brush your own hair before going out the door in the morning.
Then I got an iPhone, got the Dinner Spinner application and had someone else’s geniously bright idea! Own phone in own kitchen, own blog, can access own recipes! Wonderful.
Tonight, I am making Baked Fish with Pasta Shells. Easy, takes about 5-10 mins to prepare, and about 20-25 to cook, slightly longer if you have a large chunky piece of fish. I serve it with plain conchiglie (seashell) pasta, maybe some steamed green beans as a side, and pour the fishy sauce over the pasta to serve. Tis lovely, one of the all-time favourites, hall of fame, wish I had invented it kind of a dish.
Ingredients for Two (Just Double Up for Four)
- Firm-fleshed white, trimmed boneless fish, ie Cod, Hake, Coley, Haddock or Whiting around 500g. You can use more if you are greedy, hungry or just too embarrassed to tell the fishmonger that the enormous loin he has pulled out and slapped on the scale in front of 10 other customers is a little too rich for your budget, which is what usually happens to me.
- 3 medium-sized Tomatoes
- Sometimes I slice over 4 or 5 white cap or chestnut Mushrooms, but this is optional
- Scattering of dried Herbes de Provence or Dill, about a rounded teaspoon is enough
- Grated Parmesan Cheese, I use one of those little fresh pouches from Waitrose, as Parmesan is too expensive to leave drying up in your fridge.
- A half-glass of white wine, any kind. I keep a little bottle of Cooking Wine, or one of those Just a Glass bottles from M&S in the cupboard.
Drizzle some olive oil in the base of a casserole dish, arrange the white fish on top. It is better to use a smaller casserole so that the fish takes up most of the space. Pour over the wine, and grind some salt and pepper over. Slice the tomatoes not too thinly, lay on top of the fish, add thin sliced mushrooms at this stage if using and sprinkle over the herbs. Add some more ground black pepper if you fancy. Then, sprinkle over the parmesan cheese. Cook at 180-190 degrees (if it is not pre-heated, it just takes 5 mins longer) for around 20-25 mins while you boil a kettle and get the pasta on. I get neurotic about not poisoning people, so I cook the baked fish until the sauce bubbles and the top goes a nice golden browny colour. I could probably cook it for less time. My mother makes a version of this recipe with cider, a recipe she found in a women’s magazine in the 1970’s. It is disgusting, I couldn’t recommend substituting the wine. I did try it once using stock, again, though, it is just not as good.