Rascasse à la tapenade

rascasse tapenade2

Mediterranean fish with black olive sauce

The rascasse is a firm-fleshed fish that holds together well during cooking, but it is not essential for this recipe. If you can’t find rascasse, simply substitute another firm-fleshed saltwater fish — cod, porgy, striped bass, etc.

Preparation goes very quickly, so have your side dishes ready before you begin. Small tomatoes halved and drizzled with pistou — French pesto — make a nice garnish, as shown in the photo above.

1 tbsp. tapenade (black olive spread)
2 large fillets of rascasse, rock fish, or a similar fish
2 tbsp. olive oil
fresh basil leaves
1/2 lemon, cut in two

Begin by making the tapenade. If you don’t have time to make your own, choose a high-quality brand, preferably French.

In a small dish, mix a tablespoon of tapenade with 1 tbsp. olive oil. The idea is to thin it enough to be able to drizzle it over the fish. Test to see whether it will run off the end of a spoon in a stream — if not, add a little more olive oil.

Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Remove any visible bones.

Heat the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to sizzling in a large skillet. Add the fish. Sauté over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. To check for doneness, insert a knife. If the flesh is opaque, the fish is done; if it’s translucent, cook for another minute or two.

Transfer the fillets to individual plates. Drizzle with the tapenade sauce. Add a lemon wedge and some fresh basil leaves for garnish. Serves 2.

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