Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Twice-Marinated Fish


I think cooking can be split into two core concepts, techniques and flavor profiles.  My bookcases are overflowing with cookbooks, I have dozens of pins pinned on pinterest, binders of pages torn from magazines, but rarely do I actually cook from a recipe (unless I'm baking, and then shit gets serious).

So - when I'm pouring over these myriad sources of inspiration, I'm usually looking for new techniques, or new pairings of flavors to incorporate into my repertoire.

Unfortunately for D., once I nail a successful way of cooking something, I usually repeat repeat repeat and it becomes the sanctioned way of doing that thing. For example, for years I have cooked fish in a foil packet. Prep is easy, clean up is easier and the resulting fish always incredibly juicy, tender and creates its own sauce in the process. The formula is basically fish + foil + olive oil, S&P, lemon juice (and maybe a little white wine). Throw in some cherry tomatoes, maybe some green onion or minced shallot - then into the oven. 10-15 minutes later:dinner. You can see why a process as simple as that could lead one to pass over any other fish recipes that involve further commitment, time or energy.

I've been working on this lifetime goal project of compiling an index of all my cookbooks, noting each recipe I want to try in a crazy google doc; endlessly categorizing. In the process I came across an interesting recipe in American Masala  for twice-marinated halibut that sounded delicious and like a radical departure from foil-packet fish.

The recipe coupled a new technique - marinate, brush with herb paste, then broil with a delicious flavor combination of cilantro, garlic, ginger, curry and coconut. Unfortunately we didn't have the requisite ingredients on hand, so we adapted it to fit what we did and the results were fantastic.

It takes a little more work than foil packet fish... but the results are worth it.

Twice-Marinated Fish
Inspired by Twice-Marinated Halibut, American Masala

~1 lb white fish (we used rockfish, but halibut, tilapia, flounder all could work)
1 lemon
4 cloves garlic
1 cup parsley leaves (tough stems removed)
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Olive oil (about 4 tbs)
Salt & Pepper

Place the fish in a large ziploc bag along with 2 cloves of the garlic, peeled & minced, juice from half a lemon and plenty of salt & pepper. Allow to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, mix remaining 2 cloves garlic (peeled), parsley leaves, vinegars, salt & pepper - add in olive oil slowly until mixture comes together into a rough pesto-like sauce.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and pre-heat the broiler.


Remove fish from marinade and place on baking sheet. Make two diagonal cuts across fish. Brush liberally with herb paste, making sure to press mixture into cuts.

Place fish under broiler and watch carefully. Allow to cook until flesh is opaque in the center and flakes easily with a fork.  For our rockfish which was about 1" thick, it took about 15 minutes and I flipped the filet over halfway through the cooking time.


Drizzle fish with more lemon juice and serve.