This dish was deceptively simple — the topping had a decidedly Greek flair with the olives, lemon and fresh oregano and, although we used local tilefish, it would complement any fish.
I could also see it as a delicious topping for chicken or tofu. Strategic cooks can whiz the topping together in a blender and assemble the potato salad ahead of time; when the dinner hour approaches, putting the fish on a tray with a schmear of the olive spread is the work of a moment.
This potato salad was another benefit delivered by my sister-in-law Esther. The fact that the recipe is mayo-free is a boon: It is healthier than the old-school deli version; it can be served hot, warm, at room temperature or chilled; and the fresh herbs make for both delicious flavor and pretty presentation.
Round out the menu with a simple green salad or some steamed veggies.
Tilefish with Lemon-Olive Topping
I am a huge fan of lemon. This puts me in the minority in my household, who prefer to limit their consumption of the citrus fruit to lemonade and the occasional dessert. But as I am the chief cook, the rest of the crew has to tolerate my preferences in some measure.
If you are like my nearest and dearest and prefer that lemon be subtle at best, simply reduce the amount of lemon used here; instead of the whole thing, drop in a half. Or squeeze the juice and grate a bit of zest into the mixture and discard the rinds.
4 tilefish fillets (or the fish of your preference)
⅔ cup black, pitted oil-cured olives with oil
1 whole lemon, cut in half
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons honey
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Salt if desired (Note: Olives are salty, so if you are watching your sodium, you can omit)
Spray oil for pan
In a blender, mix the olives, lemon halves, oregano, pepper, honey and salt, if using. Puree until fairly smooth. If the mixture is very thick, you can add a bit of olive oil or water.
Heat your oven to 300 degrees F.
Spray the bottom of a baking dish with a cover to lightly coat it with oil. Place the fish in the pan, and spoon a light coating of the olive mixture on each fillet.
Cover the pan, and bake the fish for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. The fish is done when it flakes easily and it is opaque throughout with no translucency.
Mustard-herb Potato Salad
Esther made this to accompany grilled chicken during her recent visit. It was delicious, and she used a bunch of different types and colors of baby potatoes, which added visual appeal to the dish. If you don’t have an assortment of spuds, just use what you have, and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
I was especially chuffed to supply the herbs the recipe called for from my garden — alas, they are the only “crops” that have flourished.
1½ pounds baby potatoes (a combo of red bliss and fingerling is nice)
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup chopped red onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring it to a boil, cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well, and allow the potatoes to air dry for a few minutes.
Place the warm potatoes in a large bowl, and sprinkle them with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Toss the potatoes and vinegar.
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix the oil, remaining vinegar, mustard, oil, onions, salt and pepper. Pour it over the potatoes, and then add the herbs. Toss to coat, and let it sit for a while to allow the flavors to blend. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. keri w