Fish Steamed over Summer Vegetables
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Versatile and foolproof, this recipe provides both fish and side dish in one preparation (it’s a summer main-stay for gardeners). The idea is to give the vegetables (whichever you choose) a head start in a hot skillet, then use that as a bed to steam sturdy fillets, steaks, or whole fish (which might take just a couple minutes longer).
The goal is to let the vegetables soften but not fully cook. That way when you lay on the fish, everything finishes cooking together.
Other seafood you can use here: halibut, salmon, or trout; avoid fish that tend to dry out quickly, like tuna and swordfish. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium or 1 large zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 small or 1 medium eggplant, peeled if you like, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 small or 2 medium tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped, with their juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or marjoram leaves
1/2 cup black olives, pitted if you like (optional)
About 1 1/2 pounds sturdy white fish fillets, steaks, or whole fish
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
1. Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Immediately add the garlic and, when it sizzles, the onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, and more salt and pepper. Lower the heat a bit to keep the vegetables from burning and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is fairly soft, another 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme, and the olives if you’re using them and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break up, 5 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
3. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and lay it on top of the vegetables. Adjust the heat so the mixture simmers. Cover and cook for 5 to 12 minutes, or until a thin-bladed knife inserted into the fish at its thickest point meets little resistance. (The thinnest fillets will be done in 5 minutes, but most will take about twice that long and a few even longer.) Transfer the fish to a plate, then stir the basil into the vegetables and spoon them around the fish; drizzle all with the remaining olive oil (use a little more if you like) and serve.