The fish and the spinach cook together in the oven while the savory orzo pilaf cooks on the stovetop. With just a hint of sweetness, the colorful gremolata brings the entire dish together by highlighting the buttery, flaky fish and lending assertiveness to the delicate spinach.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds white fish fillets (lingcod, pacific cod, rockfish, yelloweye, or halibut), cut into 4 pieces
- ½ cup pitted and coarsely chopped kalamata olives
- ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 10 ounces baby spinach, about 10 lightly packed cups
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- ⅔ cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup finely grated ricotta salata
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Prep the Fish
Preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly oil a large baking dish. On a plate, brush the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let sit while you prepare the rest.
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Cook the fish
In a medium bowl, combine the olives, red bell pepper, pistachios, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the lemon zest, honey, crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside. In the oiled baking dish, toss the spinach, granulated garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper and spread evenly across the bottom of the dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of water and top with the fish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until the fish is opaque and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Make the orzo
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the orzo and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally until the orzo is golden and the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add the broth and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the orzo is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the cheese and remaining ¼ cup parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon spinach and orzo onto plates and top with the fish. Spoon the olive mixture on top and serve with lemon wedges.
Spice it Up
Add sliced red or green chiles to the gremolata or orzo pilaf for a little heat or mild roasted red peppers to the baking dish for a punch of color.
Pack it Up
This dish can be halved to serve 2, but leftovers would make a terrific cold pasta salad. Add a bit more lemon juice and olive oil to moisten it up and pack it up for lunch the next day.
Know Your Cook
Diana Andrews is the former Test Kitchen Director at Fine Cooking magazine. She was the head recipe developer and editor for the first six seasons of the Emmy Award-nominated WGBH television show Moveable Feast. She has worked at Dressing Room and Park Avenue Seasonal restaurants and the James Beard Foundation. She currently develops and tests recipes for multiple popular food brands and leading digital food and cooking platforms and teaches virtual and in-person recreational and professional cooking classes.