Poached Fish Fillets With Tomato Vinaigrette

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IMG_0685 (550x366)I was once again reminded why seafood is my favorite entree when I tried this recipe. Sergi and I were both amazed and thrilled when we tasted it. This was probably the quickest photo session ever; while Sergi was taking pictures of the final product, I was sneaking off little tidbits to taste. As soon as I gave him a bite, we hurried it up with the camera and plated ourselves some dinner.

Seafood is the one food that I can always count on that will have me feeling GREAT after dinner. It cooks very quickly, so it’s also a very easy dinner option, which I also appreciate. 

Not only does it taste light and cooks fast, but fish looks so fancy and elegant. Doesn’t it look like it belongs on a gourmet restaurant menu? Trust me, I didn’t do anything difficult or technical with it.

New discovery: Artichokes are delicious! We’ve both tried artichokes before and didn’t like them for some reason. I trust America’s Test Kitchen though, so I decided to give it another chance. I’m so glad I did. While we were waiting for the fish to cook, Sergi and I both were munching on the artichokes. We had to stop so we could have at least a little bit left to go with the fish. The artichokes were standing next to a bowl of grapes, so while I was snacking on some grapes, Sergi accusingly asked me what I was eating, since we had agreed not to eat any more artichokes until the fish was done. Ha ha! Grapes, honey! I promise. Moral of the story, artichokes are delicious when fried:). 

Ingredients:

Fish:

4 (6-ounce) skinless white fish fillets, (halibut, cod, sea bass, etc., about 1 inch thick)

salt

1 package (9 oz )  frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, patted dry, and sliced in half lengthwise

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 onion, peeled and cut in half

Tomato Vinaigrette: 

4 oz cherry tomatoes, plus 2 oz more for garnishing the fish

1/2 small shallot, peeled

4 teaspoons sherry vinegar

salt, ground black  pepper

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

For the Fish:

Salt the fish on both sides and let it rest at room temperature for twenty minutes. This will give you just enough time to prep everything else.

You can use any thick, firm white fish, halibut, snapper, sea bass, cod. I used cod, because that’s what I found in the grocery store. If part of the fish is thin, which is perfectly normal, fold the fish over to make it thick.IMG_0645 (550x367) As I already mentioned, the artichokes are delicious.

The recipe calls for 4 oz of artichokes, but the package that I bought was 9 oz, so I decided to just do the whole batch. Am I ever glad I did! It definitely wouldn’t have been enough otherwise.

Thaw the artichokes, drain on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to get rid of excess moisture and cut in half lengthwise. Toss the artichokes in the cornstarch. IMG_0640 (550x367)IMG_0643 (550x367)Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a 10 inch nonstick skillet until shimmering over medium heat. Add the artichokes and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are golden. IMG_0649 (550x367)IMG_0652 (550x367)Add the  garlic and cook it very quickly, for about 30 seconds only. If the garlic burns, it will make the oil and artichokes taste bitter. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve set over a heat proof bowl. Set aside the sieve, since you’ll be using it again for the vinaigrette. IMG_0654 (550x367)Place the artichokes and garlic on a paper towel lined pie plate or anything else that’s heatproof to drain. Season with salt while they are still hot.IMG_0658 (550x367)Pour the flavored oil back into the skillet and add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, until the oil reaches 180 degrees. Place the onion in the center of the skillet. It will flavor the oil and also make the oil rise higher to cover more of the fish and this way let’s you get away with using less oil.

Poaching the fish in oil gently cooks the fish. It’s a great technique to achieve moist and tender fish that doesn’t fall apart and isn’t overcooked. Oil doesn’t need as much energy as water to heat up to a certain temperature. It actually takes 3 times more energy to heat water to the same temperature as oil. This is why poaching fish in oil is a much more gentle process.

Does the fish soak up a lot of the oil? Surprisingly, NO. For the oil to penetrate the fish,  moisture has to exit first. Since water and oil repel each other, very little oil is absorbed. Yay, for science!

When the oil is 180 degrees, gently place the fish around the onion, spooning some oil over each fish fillet. IMG_0662 (550x367)Cover the skillet with a lid and place it in the preheated oven, cooking for 15 minutes. Use two spatulas to turn the fish over, cover with the lid again and cook for 9-14 minutes longer, until the fish reaches 130-135 degrees.

Place the artichokes in the oven after you flip the fish over, so that it will heat up.

When the fish finishes cooking, take it out of the oil and place on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil so that it stays warm. IMG_0671 (550x362)Turn off the oven but keep the artichokes in there to stay warm while you make the vinaigrette.

For the Tomato Vinaigrette:

Place 4 oz of tomatoes, shallot, sherry vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper and 1/2 a cup of the oil that you used to cook the fish into a blender. Process it until it’s smooth. Pour it through a fine mesh sieve to strain. IMG_0673 (550x367)IMG_0674 (550x367)IMG_0676 (550x367)To serve the fish, pour the vinaigrette around the fish and garnish with the artichokes, thin slices of the remaining 2 oz of tomatoes, and fresh minced parsley. IMG_0689 (550x367)

Poached Fish Fillets With Tomato Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Fish:
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless white fish fillets, (halibut, cod, sea bass, etc., about 1 inch thick)
  • salt
  • 1 package (9 oz ) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, patted dry, and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ onion, peeled and cut in half
Tomato Vinaigrette:
  • 4 oz cherry tomatoes, plus 2 oz more for garnishing the fish
  • ½ small shallot, peeled
  • 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Salt the fish on both sides and let it rest at room temperature for twenty minutes.
  3. Thaw the artichokes, drain on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to get rid of excess moisture and cut in half lengthwise. Toss the artichokes in the cornstarch.
  4. Meanwhile, heat ½ cup of olive oil in a 10 inch nonstick skillet until shimmering over medium heat. Add the artichokes and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are golden.
  5. Add the garlic and cook it very quickly, for about 30 seconds only.
  6. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve set over a heat proof bowl. Set aside the sieve, since you'll be using it again for the vinaigrette. Place the artichokes and garlic on a paper towel lined pie plate or anything else that's heatproof to drain.
  7. Season with salt while they are still hot.
  8. Pour the flavored oil back into the skillet and add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, until the oil reaches 180 degrees.
  9. Place the onion in the center of the skillet.
  10. When the oil is 180 degrees, gently place the fish around the onion, spooning some oil over each fish fillet.
  11. Cover the skillet with a lid and place it in the preheated oven, cooking for 15 minutes.
  12. Use two spatulas to turn the fish over, cover with the lid again and cook for 9-14 minutes longer, until the fish reaches 130-135 degrees.
  13. Place the artichokes in the oven after you flip the fish over, so that they will heat up.
  14. When the fish finishes cooking, take it out of the oil and place on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil so that it stays warm. Turn off the oven but keep the artichokes in there to stay warm while you make the vinaigrette.
  15. Place 4 oz of tomatoes, shallot, sherry vinegar, ¾ teaspoon salt, ground black pepper and ½ a cup of the oil that you used to cook the fish into a blender. Process it until it's smooth. Pour it through a fine mesh sieve to strain.
  16. Pour the vinaigrette around the fish and garnish with the artichokes, thin slices of the remaining 2 oz of tomatoes, and fresh minced parsley.

 
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Comments

  1. says

    Olya, I love combination here. I want to try this recipe. White fish always seems to taste dry and tasteless. Looks like the sauce and artichokes would add nice flavor.

    • says

      I really like cooking all kinds of white fish, cod, sea bass, snapper, haddock, grouper, etc. I think they are very tender and moist if you don’t overcook them.

  2. Oksana says

    Wow! This dish looks so fancy, just like from an upscale restaurant. I will have to try it out, I love trying out different recipes with seafood. Thanks!

  3. Natalka says

    Olga –
    Planing to make this fish for my relatives
    do u thing i can make this before they came to my house or the fish its not going to be good, any ideas kak lytche zdelat
    thanks

    • says

      Natalka,
      I don’t recommend cooking fish ahead of time. It will get dry and rubbery if you reheat it. Fish cooks very quickly. Prep everything before they come and have it ready to go and as soon as they get there start cooking. It won’t take much time at all.

  4. Larisa says

    This was by far the best fish recipe I ever made!!! Thank you so much Olga for all the wonderful recipes! You rock my kitchen ;)

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