Recently, I worked on an on-location two-day motion shoot. I was one of four food stylist employed for the two days. We worked from the compact, professional, mobile kitchen called Maindish, it was rather cosy! They were 15 hour days with few opportunities to sit down (who said food styling was glamorous?). I’m always amazed at the shear number of people it takes to make a commercial happen, 60, in this case! By the way, on location also means cramped, because you’re having to squeeze in everyone and everything into relatively small spaces, it really is quite the orchestration!
I found this recipe on Epicurious; I chose it because I had most of the ingredients at home (along with an inordinate amount of sun-dried tomatoes). It was absolutely delicious, so I decided to document it for the future, plus, I made a few changes.
Mediterranean Fish in a Tomato Sriracha Sauce
- splash of EVOO
- 70 g (1/2 medium) sweet onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 90 g (~1/2 medium) fennel bulb, finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce (add more if you like heat)
- 250 mL (1 cup) tomato purée from fresh or canned tomatoes (I used homemade)
- 30 g (~1/4 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2oo g white fish fillets
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- A handful of baby spinach
- Black olives (I used Niçoisse)
Ingredients for the topping:
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
- Small handful of spinach
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped or grated
- Zest of 1 lemon, plus a squeeze of juice
- In a medium-sized, frying pan (I used cast iron), heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the onion, fennel and sun-dried tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Combine the tomato purée with the sriracha sauce and stir well. Add the tomato purée to the frying pan and simmer for 4 to 5 additional minutes. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
- Place the fish on top of the tomato mixture, spooning a little of the sauce over the fish. Cover and simmer on medium-low for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish is fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, in the small bowl of a food processor combine the parsley, spinach, sundried tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest and juice and process until chopped and well mixed. Set aside.
- When the fish is completely cooked, carefully stir in the olives (putted and sliced, if you’re using larger olives) and baby spinach and warm through (spinach should wilt).
- To serve, place the fish on a spoonful or two of cauliflower mash or polenta and dollop the tomato sauce over the hot fish. Dot the herb topping over the fish and sauce to finish.
- This combination of vegetables and tomatoes would work very well with chicken, but you’ll need to increase your cooking time.
- I used Tilapia for this particular recipe, but haddock, cod, sea bass or monkfish would also work well.
- The first time I made this recipe, I did not have fennel so I substituted 2 stalks of celery, it was equally as delicious.
- I used sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, you may use dry but you might need to soak them in water so they are not chewy.
- To reduce calories, omit the olives and use non-stick spray instead of olive oil.
- If you use ordinary black olives, pit them and cut them into thirds.
- The weights I suggest in the recipe are not carved in stone, just gives you an idea of proportions for two.