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Haddock Sautéed Basque Style  printer friendly
By Charlie Burke

Basque cuisine is not well known in this country, but Europeans consider
Basque chefs and Northern Spain’s kitchens to be among the most innovative in
the world.

Fresh vegetables are frequently cooked with fish or meat, as in this preparation
where thin slices of red pepper, garlic and onion are sautéed in fruity olive oil
before adding the fish to the pan, and a few slivers of black olives and some
fresh tomatoes are added with the fish.

White wine is reduced to add acidity and the oil and vegetables then provide
the light sauce for the fish which is gently cooked in them over moderate heat
until barely done. The result is moist, tender fillets infused with flavored oil.

Quick, easy and healthy, this preparation works with any mild fish. I
particularly like it with tilapia, but choose whichever white fleshed fish looks
best in the market, which yesterday was glistening-fresh Canadian haddock.

Four servings:

1 ½ pound fillets of haddock, tilapia or similar species
1 sweet red pepper, in thin slices
½ medium red onion, thinly sloiced
½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon sliced cured black olives
3 tablespoons best quality extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a sauté pan
over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced
pepper, onion, garlic and pepper flakes, if using, and cook until the pepper
and onion just begin to soften. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-hot
and reduce the wine by three quarters. Turn the heat down to medium.

If the fillets are not of uniform thickness, slice them, separating the thinner ends
from the thicker pieces. Add the thicker pieces and the tomatoes and olives to
the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the thinner pieces. Cook,
turning the fish once, until it is nearly opaque in the center. Remove pieces to a
warmed plate as they are done.

Pour the oil and vegetable mixture over the fish and serve on warmed plates.

The flavors of the vegetables suffuse the oil and complement the sweetness of
the fish, which we serve with rice and a mixed salad, along with a dry white
wine when serving guests.

I usually use tilapia, a responsibly farmed species, because the fillets are
uniform in thickness. Do choose whatever is most fresh in the market to best
enjoy the subtle flavor of this Spanish preparation.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer'sMarket Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at
Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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Haddock, Basque-Style, Photo by Charlie Burke
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