Our first Christmas recipe installment starts with the Feast of the Seven Fishes. The Neapolitans claim this tradition, but so do the Sicilians, and it is celebrated all over Italy on Christmas Eve. But preparing seven fish dishes is not always easy, so I offer this recipe to you. The sauce can be prepared ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a day or two. The fish can be baked at the last minute and served in the baking dish.
This recipe is for 8 pieces of fresh cod fillet, about 4 oz. each. It bakes in one 9 x 2 x 13 baking dish.
The ingredients are:
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
Eight (8) 6 oz. pieces of fresh cod fillet
Set a 14-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and slightly caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oregano and basil. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Continue to cook the sauce until it is slightly reduced, about 4 to 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. The sauce is done. When you are ready to cook the fish, bring the sauce to room temperature and place it in the baking dish. Add the fish and space evenly. Spoon some sauce over the top of the fish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is firm and the sauce is simmering. If the sauce gets too thick during the cooking process, add a little water at a time and cover the dish lightly with aluminum foil. Serve hot.