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Southern Italian Poached Fish

This one is straight out of the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated. I had every ingredient on hand when I read the title except the fish, so I made a quick Giant stop after camp drop off. I love poached white fish at restaurants but haven’t nailed down the method at home; this was a recipe I wanted on this site so I could come back to it, subbing in ingredients and flavors but keeping the methodology the same.

Honestly, it’s absolutely delicious and crazy easy, though I have a few tips. You go from turning the heat on the skillet to plating this fish in about 10 minutes total, so having all your ingredients ready (mise en place) ahead is hugely helpful. Slice your garlic as thinly as possible so that when you don’t find yourself crunching into a big chunk (this happened to me). Lastly, thin white fish cooks quite quickly so it’s probably done before you think it’s done. if it’s opaque all the way through, it’s cooked.

We eat a lot of white fish in the summer, usually flounder, and usually Panko breaded and fried. This will be a much healthier and just as delicious option this summer. Hope you like it as much as I did. Lastly, a major mistake I made is that I didn’t have crusty bread to eat it with. Big mistake. Broth is absolutely delicious and I ate it with a spoon. Bread next time.

Southern Italian Poached White Fish

Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Serves 3-4

1 1/2 pounds skin on haddock fillets, 3/4 to 1 inch thick (if you can’t find skin on, skinless works fine)

1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 small onion, diced fine

1 bay leaf

8 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 1/4 c. water

1/4 c. dry white wine

12 fresh parsley stems, plus 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided

  1. Sprinkle haddock with 1/2 tsp. of the salt and the pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in 12 inch skillet with a lid. Add garlic and pepper flakes and, stirring constantly, cook for 2-3 minutes or until garlic is just starting to sizzle.
  3. Add onion, bay leaf, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring constantly, until onion starts to soften.
  4. Add tomatoes and stir for another 2 minutes or until tomatoes begin to soften.
  5. Stir in water, wine, parsley stems, and half of chopped parsley and bring mixture to boil.
  6. Nestle fish into and underneath the liquids/solids and reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook 5-7 minutes or until fish is opaque and cooked to 135 degrees. Divide haddock between 3-4 shallow soup bowls.
  7. Remove stems and bay leaf from poaching liquid. Add remaining chopped parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon poaching liquid (and tomatoes/onions/garlic) over fish and serve immediately (with bread!).

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