What is it about France in the summer – oops! – I mean France in the Spring, that inspires provençal fare? Nothing conjurs up Provence to me like ripe tomatoes, salty olives, astringent lemon, grilled fish & meats, and freshly picked herbs.
This simple recipe, Poisson Provençal, is herb roasted fish with a salsa of tomatoes and olives garnished with the first baby artichokes of the season. The fish is roasted whole so that it stays nice and juicy over the grill without drying out. Included are simple instructions for preparing whole fish from beginning to end and, of course, my quirky ways of getting the job done.
Although I love reading new recipes, I love to learn technique more. There are thousands of recipes in the world and I can never remember any of them past the meal that I've just cooked. However, technique enables one to walk through the farmers' markets and choose what is fresh without fear.
I sincerely hope that in my video series Paris On The Terrace, that I offer more than just a recipe, but technique in food preparation that will aid in exploration!
For recipe click on continue reading...
for two people
1 firm white fish with edible skin like Pageot or Durade
4 ripe but firm tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
10 pitted greek olives, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 sprigs basil chopped
3 springs flat leap parsley chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 whole garlic cloves with skin
4-5 T extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel to taste
Fresh pepper to taste
1. De-scale, de-fin, and gut fish. Don't forget to take out eye balls and gills too.
2. Inside the clean fish belly put the rosemary, thyme, and hand-crushed garlic. Also include stalks from the basil and parsley. Refrigerate. Preferably prepare fish an hour or two ahead of time so the herbs have some time to flavor the fish.
3. Chop tomatoes, olives, basil, and parsley. Mix in a bowl with olive oil, lemon, 2-3 big pinches of fleur de sel and fresh ground pepper. Stir and taste. If it's a little too lemon-y add a little extra salt.
4. Create a medium hot barbecue. Once the coals die down place the whole fish on aluminum paper that is smeared with olive oil to keep the fish from sticking. grill for 3-4 minutes with lid on. To flip the fish place another sheet of oiled aluminum paper on the top of fish, press down around fish (mind the heat!), and flip the fish onto the other side. Of course you can do this with a spatula too. Cook covered for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Remove fish and fillet it. (see video)
6. Serve with provençal salsa over the top and a wedge of lemon along side. Garnish with rice or artichokes or whatever looks good at the market