Buoy bland fish with acidic peppers, tomatoes

Oven-roasting in the style of so-called “sheet-pan suppers” is a method suited to any number of vegetables.

Broccoli, snow peas, carrots and zucchini all were suggested as accompaniments to broiled salmon in this blog’s previous post. Flexibility based on the seasonality of vegetables is just one reason to simply roast them alongside meat or fish. Flexibility in repurposing leftovers is another.

When a peak-season piece of produce constitutes meal after meal, however, it’s nice to experiment with a variety of preparations. Asparagus I’ve roasted plenty, including last week with a halibut steak and fingerling potatoes. The following recipe is very similar in concept, including the zesty sauce that brings a welcome acidic element to the fish.

A simple mixture of canned, diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, apple-cider vinegar and chopped capers smothered my halibut. It wasn’t just to add flavor; it was a move to improve the fish’s overall flavor, masking any off taste from having been in the freezer in a vacuum bag that hadn’t sealed entirely.

The last-minute maneuver, when I realized that the fish wasn’t as pristine as I’d hoped, worked well and garnered some appreciative comments from my family. Tomatoes go surprisingly well with asparagus, as do bell peppers.

Although strictly speaking not in season, the quality of store-bought bell peppers is consistent year-round. But jarred roasted peppers could be substituted here, or canned tomatoes for that matter.        

Tribune News Service photo

Broiled Mahi-Mahi With Asparagus and Red Pepper Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large red bell pepper, cored and chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 shallot, peeled and sliced

4 sprigs thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar, plus more to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 mahi-mahi or red snapper fillets (about 5 to 6 ounces each)

2 bunches thin asparagus, trimmed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven broiler. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, garlic, shallot, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until bell pepper is tender, for 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of the pan; cook until mostly evaporated, for about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, for about 2 minutes; discard thyme. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree; season with the salt and pepper and add up to 1 more teaspoon vinegar, if needed.

Place the fish on a sided baking sheet. Rub fish fillets with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Broil fish at least 6 inches from heat source, for about 5 minutes. Add asparagus to same baking sheet opposite fish; broil for 5 minutes. Remove from broiler.

Spoon pepper sauce onto plates. Top with fish and asparagus; sprinkle with the parsley.

Recipe adapted by the Detroit Free Press from the Food Network Magazine, September 2018 issue.

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