Take advantage of the season’s last cherry tomatoes on the vine with this easy one-skillet stovetop dinner. Begin by roasting the tomatoes until they begin to break down and release their juices. Once this happens, stir in fresh garlic, briny capers and herb sprigs to round out the flavors and mingle with the juices, creating a light and luscious sauce. Then add whitefish fillets to the pan sauce, transfer to the oven and let them roast in the pan juices.
Make this recipe with any thick whitefish, such as sea bass, halibut or swordfish. Choose fillets that are center-cut and about 3/4-inch thick. The fish will roast quickly; cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fish. It’s cooked when it’s opaque through the center and easily flakes.
Dinner couldn’t be any simpler — or more delicious.
Roasted Sea Bass With Blistered Tomato and Caper Sauce
1½ pounds cherry tomatoes (left on the vine, optional)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on the fish
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, oregano or marjoram
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 center-cut whitefish fillets, such as sea bass or halibut, each about 6 ounces
Finely grated lemon zest
With a paring knife, make a small incision in the tomatoes. (This step will hasten their cooking process.)
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
If using the stovetop, heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down and release their juices, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, herb sprigs, garlic, capers and vinegar. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to meld the flavors, stirring frequently.
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Brush the fish with the oil and season with salt and black pepper. Nestle the fish in the pan between the tomatoes. Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the fish is just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Garnish with lemon zest and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
Lynda Balslev is a San Francisco Bay Area cookbook author, food and travel writer and recipe developer.
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