I’m really getting into these summer vibes, my angels. South Africa is a wondrous place to live – we literally have a smorgasbord of sun-ripened fruit & vegetables available at the moment. This is our time to get greedy on locally grown produce. No need for the big retailers to be importing naughty fruits n veggies from lands faraway… All those gorgeous things are now all at the tip of our fingers, it’s so incredibly exciting, don’t you think?!
In light of this, I took a drive down to my favourite fish shop Fish4Africa, which is just off Roodebloem Road in Woodstock. If you’re a fish lover like me and you haven’t been here, step to my darlings. The good folk who run the show will even sort you out with SMS updates to let you know when your favourite fish is in stock. You just need to scribble your details down for them, and let them know what fishies you’re keen on, and they’ll do the rest. They also prepare your fish to your exact specifications – they have a team of talented & keen fishmongers with extraordinarily sharp knives at the ready. Honestly, why go anywhere else?
This is one of the simplest and easiest dishes I could share with you. It’s one of those really versatile meals, where it could be played down slightly for a simple meal for 1, or taken up a few skoochy notches for a dinner party.
Here’s what you’ll need… (Serves 4)
1x500g side/fillet of hake* (fresh is the only option, preferably scaled and filleted the same day) *You could also use yellowtail/kob/gurnard/panga – all these fish are fished or farmed in our waters & are on SASSI’s green list.
½ medium onion, chopped
Paprika, salt and black pepper
1 cup Roma tomatoes, halved
1 cup basil leaves, torn
½ cup black olives, pitted
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp good white wine (we used Du Toitskloof Chardonnay)
Preheat your oven to 220`C. You’re going to need to create a bag for your fish to bake in. This should be done with foil, as you’ll be creating a lovely sauce in the bottom of the bag to pour over your fish. Make your foil bag deep and strong. Alternatively you could use a roasting bag, but ensure the fish is not cramped inside the bag. Cramping a fish’s style is just not cricket man.
Sprinkle the onions down the center of the foil before placing your fillet of fish on top. Season the fish well with the paprika, salt & pepper before scattering & drizzling all the remaining ingredients over. Seal the fish completely so that no steam will escape, but don’t wrap the fish up tight. There should be enough space for the fish to have a nice sauna in there.
Place the fish bag on a baking tray & bung it in the oven. Depending on the size of your fish, your cooking time will vary. Our 500g fillet of fish took 20 minutes to cook. Once the fish is cooked – remove it from the oven and tear the foil open neatly so that the fish is exposed, yet the juices are still contained to sauce each portion. Top with a few more torn basil leaves and some creamy Danish feta cheese if you’re feeling crazy. Serve it with garlicky new potatoes tossed in olive oil & loads of fresh Italian parsley. I’d have died for some aioli to spoon over the potatoes instead, but I’m trying very hard to avoid the fattynomnoms of life, but you can totally go for your badge if you like?
As BondJamesBond would say, “Born up a Tree.”