The aroma that filled my kitchen last night was indescribable – I am yearning for the day that some clever boffin invents a way to transmit smells across the internet. Until then, you’ll have to take my word for it, unless you decide to make this for yourself, and I strongly recommend that you do – delicious food doesn’t come much easier than throwing some flavourful ingredients into a casserole and sticking it in the oven.
This Greek-inspired recipe comes from ‘Falling Cloudberries’ by Tessa Kiros, a book my wife initially bought just because it was a beautiful book. The picture below comes from that book, and when I first laid eyes on it I knew we were having it for dinner that night. I have made it several times since, and every time I do my wife says she could happily eat this every night for the rest of her life. Praise indeed.
Tessa Kiros claims that this tastes great straight from the fridge; I have to wonder how she ever has any leftovers to put in the fridge!
This needs nothing more than some crusty farmhouse or sourdough bread to wipe every trace of sauce from the casserole, your bowl and your cutlery.
RECIPE – serves 4
1 kg firm white fish fillets (cod, hake, haddock or similar)
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, stalks and leaves chopped separately
4 fat garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
the juice of 2 large lemons
2 celery stalks, with some leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp golden caster sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
farmhouse or sourdough bread to serve
Heat the oven to 200C/ Fan 180C/ gas 4. Place your fish fillets between pieces of kitchen paper to absorb any excess liquid and set aside.
In a casserole, mix together the tinned tomatoes, chopped parsley stalks, garlic, lemon juice, celery and sugar with the olive oil. Season, then cover with the lid, or some foil, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or so, then remove the lid, stir and place back in the oven uncovered.
Lightly season the fish fillets and cut into chunks around 2 inches thick.
When the sauce has been uncovered in the oven for ten minutes, place the fish pieces into the sauce with the parsley leaves and ensure that each piece of fish is covered by the sauce. Put back in the oven for ten minutes or so, until the fish is just cooked and flakes easily. By now the sauce will be rich, thick and unctuous.
Take to the table with a big spoon, some bowls and plenty of bread, and bask in the appreciation that will surely follow.