Greek Baked Black Rockfish (Black Bass)
This recipe was adapted from “More Choices for Healthy Fish Dishes” by Martha Rose Shulman, originally appearing in The New York Times.
- 2 (1-pound) black rockfish (black bass) fillets
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound onions, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thinly across the grain
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced or puréed
- 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juice (in summer use 2 pounds grated or peeled ripe tomatoes)
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste, dissolved in ¼ cup water
- ½ cup dry white or red wine
- Leaves from 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped (about ½ cup)
Pat the fish dry, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Oil one or two baking dishes large enough to accommodate the fish in one layer. Lay the fish in the dish, and pour on the lemon juice. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet, and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until they have softened and begun to color slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, paprika, cinnamon, dissolved tomato paste, wine, half the parsley and more salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce has cooked down a bit and is very fragrant, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and pour over the fish. Sprinkle on the remaining parsley.
Place in the oven and bake until the fish is opaque and pulls apart easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Baste the fish every 10 minutes if it is not submerged in the sauce. Serve hot or warm, with rice, bulgur, or potatoes.
Advance preparation tip: You can make the tomato sauce (Step 2) up to 3 days ahead. Bring back to a simmer before proceeding with the fish.