I seem to be DNA-driven in the kitchen the past couple of weeks…embracing my ancestral roots and cooking up Italian and Spanish comfort foods.
I recently came back from a trip to Tuscany and I was all about Italian food…for about 10 days. Then, all of a sudden, I started thinking about Spanish food. And I seem to be on a roll with that. Recently, I’ve done tapas for lunch, tortilla Española for breakfast, mussels with chorizo for dinner — and I’m planning a decidedly Spanish menu for a dinner party on Saturday.
Tonight as I was about to prepare Grouper for dinner, I took an unplanned turn towards la cocina Española. Once I got the idea to treat dinner with some Spanish love, I started seasoning and layering ingredients for what turned out to be a baked fish casserole, a la catalana.
Layers of ingredients = layers of flavor!
Baked Fish Casserole, a la Catalana
- 2 pieces of white fish (I used grouper)
- 4 baby potatoes thinly sliced, coated with olive oil and dry seasonings (see note)
- 2 piquillos (or substitute roasted peppers)
- 4 artichoke hearts broken apart
- 6 chopped stuffed olives
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tomato thinly sliced
- dry seasonings
- a few threads of saffron
- olive oil
- panko breadcrumbs
- a few almonds, toasted and chopped
- parsley, chopped
- Layer potatoes.
- Layer peppers.
- Layer artichoke hearts, chopped stuffed olives, minced garlic.
- Add 2 pieces of fish (should be oiled and seasoned including a few threads of saffron).
- Layer tomatoes.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes (depending on thickness).
- Remove cover, add some breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil and bake another 10 minutes.
!. Season each layer as you go.
2. FOODalogue blend of dry seasonings: coarse salt, red chili flakes, oregano, fennel seed, star anise, Spanish paprika.
3. Finish with toasted chopped almonds and sprinkle of chopped parsley.
4. Serves 2.
The proof is in the taste. The fish was extremely moist. Each bite brought a taste of well-seasoned fish, potatoes, and vegetables, all of which were enhanced by the fresh parsley and the little crunch of almonds. And, the juice created was bread-sopping worthy.
NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for.
A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!