Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I made a saucy little dinner last night with the help of Lidia Bastianich, one of my favorite celebrity chefs and cookbook authors. Her cooking is always simple and ever-so flavorful, and reminds me of the way my mom used to effortlessly cook. Haddock's been on sale this week, so that was my fish of choice, but any white fish will do. I changed Lidia's recipe slightly and added a yummy roasted red pepper and caper tarter sauce (aioli), which turned out to be a great complement to the garlic and lemon flavored fish. This recipe serves four and it's definately company fare. I give it five stars.

Savory Bread Crumb Topped Baked Haddock with
Roasted Red Pepper, Lemon and Caper Aioli
Adapted from Lidia Bastianich

1-1/2 pounds haddock
1 tsp kosher salt
4 T extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with a big chef's knife
1/2 cup seasoned (store-bought) bread crumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Fresh lemon slices for garnish

1/2 roasted red pepper (I use Pastene jarred) chopped fine
3 tsp capers chopped fine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp jarred white horseradish
1/2 cup light mayonnaise

To make the fish: Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly salt the fish on both sides, using about 1/2 tsp in all. Pour 2 T of the olive oil, the lemon juice, white wine and an additional 1/4 tsp salt into a baking dish (I used a glass Pyrex) and whisk together well. Drop in the crushed garlic cloves and stir with the dressing. Lay the fish filets in the dish, turn and swish them around in the olive oil mixture so both sides are thoroughly moistened. Arrange them skin side down, in one layer. I tucked the crushed garlic under the fish so it wouldn't burn while cookin in the high temp oven.

Toss bread crumbs in a bowl with the lemon zest, cayenne pepper and remaining salt. Drizzle with 2 T olive oil and toss crumb mixture well until evenly moistened. Spoon the seasoned bread crumbs on top of the filets in an even layer. Bake uncovered until the crumbs are crisp and golden and the fish is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

To make the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl and whisk until combined.

If time permits, make the sauce ahead of time. Refrigerate and let the flavors get to know one another and thicken a bit. I think you'll be very happy. I know that while writing this post, I nibbled on some microwaved leftovers and aioli, and I'm very pleased with last night's dinner.

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