The last few weeks I've been working on a lot of painting and home decor projects. One thing I'm pretty excited about is that I've finally been able to work on my family photo wall. You know, all the old pics you keep in boxes and swear you'll show off one day. I have dozens that I have pulled out and finally put into frames, giving them the sentimental place of honor they deserve.
When I came across this one of yours truly, age 4, I couldn't help but laugh and start thinking of some good times with my Dad. Around the time this picture was taken, my Dad took me on my first fishing trip. This was back in the late 60's, before every video game and high dollar toy was ever imagined, so the idea of going fishing was real exciting to me. We went to a little lake and Dad baited my hook for me- I wasn't quite ready to touch those worms yet. Dad helped me cast out my line, and then I waited. It wasn't more than a minute that my Dad told me to start reeling it in. I had caught a fish!! All of about 4" long, I was so excited, so proud, and so snotty to my older brother who hadn't caught one. Yup, I was cool...
For years I teased my brother with that. Then, somewhere around my teenage years when I was being bratty, my brother spilled the beans and totally burst my perfect fishy bubble. Dad, it seems, had placed that little fishy on my hook just before he helped me cast out my line. I never saw it. I never knew. I had never really caught a fish after all. I was crushed... Of course I survived and it's just one of those stories that gets brought up from time to time.
Remembering that story got me thinking of fish and how it would be perfect for dinner that night (and you thought I was going no where with this, huh?!). So I pulled out my copy of Roasting-A Simple Art, by Barbara Kafka, and adapted a dish that I've been wanting to try for some time, Roasted Monkfish Felix. Phoenix is not the place to find the best selection in seafood, so I had to rely on what was available at my market. Nothing there came close to Monkfish, so I settled on Halibut, and was quite pleased.
I loved the lemon in this dish, the rind being tender and completely edible. Roasted with the tomatoes and onions, it created a fantastic sauce that is deserving of a nice home baked crusty bread.
adapted from Barbara Kafka
1/4 c olive oil
2 lemons sliced thin and seeds removed
1 medium (or 1/2 large) onion thinly sliced
6 small red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 Tbs dried thyme
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced and seeded
3/4 c canned crushed tomatoes with basil
1-1/2 lbs Halibut fillet
Kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 F. Pour oil into a 13 x 9 roasting or baking dish. Layer one of the sliced lemons down the center of the pan. Layer onions around lemon slices. Layer sliced potatoes over top. Sprinkle with 1/2 of dried Thyme and a little kosher salt and black pepper. Layer tomatoes on top of potatoes. Top with remaining lemon slices, kosher salt, and pepper. Pour crushed tomato and basil evenly over top of vegetables and lemon. Place in oven for about 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are almost tender.
Salt and pepper Halibut, and sprikle with remaining thyme. When potatoes are almost tender, remove pan from oven and place halibut fillets on top of vegetables, and baste fish lightly with some of sauce in pan. Continue roasting an additional 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish, until fish flakes. Serves 2.