Monday, August 11, 2014

Fish poached in olive oil

My friend Fred will be all over this one. The man spends more time chasing fish than anyone I know, and is always searching for new ways to prepare the swimmers that take his lure.

Like me, Fred tries to keep things simple. I liked that about him when we first met each other, more than a couple decades back. He was editing a technology magazine and I was a newly hired gun brought in to do the things that hired guns do. My first assignment was to edit a cover story whose author and assigning editor (both trusted staffers) had determined required 11,000 words or so to tell. "Do what you think it needs," were my only instructions.

The next day, after I'd turned in a much-simplified 3,500-word piece for all parties to review, Fred was the only one not demanding that I be made acquainted with the exit, or perhaps a higher-floor open window. A two-month assignment grew into a yearlong gig, and a friendship that has lasted much longer.

Long enough to know that, when fishing season on Long Island commences this fall, Fred will be giving this olive oil-poached fish fillet preparation a serious going over. It's luxurious, for sure. But it couldn't possibly be simpler.

You can oil poach a lot of different types of fish, but this whole bluefish fillet had my name written all over it.

All you need to do is season the fillet with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (By the way, make sure to allow the fish to come up to room temperature before working with it. It should not be cold when you begin cooking it.)

Put the fillet in a baking dish, cover it with olive oil, and add a couple of crushed garlic cloves and whatever fresh herbs you like. Then place the dish in an oven preheated to 200 to 250 degrees F and leave it alone. After around 25 minutes start checking the fish for doneness. As usual, the exact amount of cooking time will depend on a lot of things, the thickness of the fillet among them. This fillet took around 35 minutes at roughly 250 degrees or so.

Plate the fillet, along with some of the olive oil, and allow to rest before serving. I like it at room temperature, but some people prefer eating the fish when it's still warm.

I'm not so sure where Fred stands on this issue. Guess we're not quite as close as I thought.


Fred said...

Now you've blown my cover! Don't you know that I'm on 100 per cent disability and can't have my photo and tales of my fishing exploits, as in--shameless self-promotion coming, blasted all over the internet? That said, I have experimented a bit this year, smoking my fish for the first time, for example. I've read about poaching fish in oil--I've done it in water and broth--and for sure this is high on the to-do list. Just gotta find the damned fish!

PS: Just kidding about that disability thing. LOL!

Anonymous said...

If this is like Spanish gambas al ajillo, be sure to have some good bread to dip in the olive oil. Can be better than the fish, if you use enough garlic. Aproveche!

Claudia said...

Never have done fish this way. Since we eat fish 3-4 times a week - I obviously have been lacking in imagination. Must do.