Pescado a la Española
Pescado a la Española
This is a popular Chilean
method of baking fish in herbs, really a creole dish, despite its name. You can use any
type of fish, and it's an excellent way of preparing Chilean sea bass or salmon.
A word about Chilean fish.
Chile is a major fish exporter, due to its long coastline and large Austral fisheries.
Many of its fish are "sashimi grade", meaning highly prized in Japanese fish
markets, and the most important of these is the Chilean sea bass. Now the Chilean sea bass
is neither bass nor exclusively Chilean, as its habitat is the entire Southern Ocean
(Austral Sea), the cold, deep waters encircling the continent of Antarctica. Its
Australian name is Patagonian toothfish, and in Chile it's known both as mero
(grouper) and merluza negra (black hake), even though it's neither grouper nor
hake, but its own species. Because of its sashimi quality, most of its fisheries have
collapsed due to overfishing, leading to a call by some groups (such as Greenpeace) to
boycott the importation of Chilean sea bass to the U.S. However, most U.S. importers of
Chilean sea bass buy their fish only from managed fisheries.
Other well-known Chilean
fishes are the congrio (conger eel or kingclip), merluza (hake or
whiting), and reyneta (regneta). These smaller fish are very flavorful, and
almost always served pan-fried. If you find them locally (flash-frozen), try them.
Chilean fish baked in aromatic herbs
3 filets of a large fish (or 6 small filets, but large bake best)
1½ t salt
1½ t herbs de provence
1 c white wine
¼ c lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
½ red bell pepper, sliced into strips
½ green bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 T butter
Preheat oven to 425°F(220°C).
Rince the fish filets and pat dry, and season with 1 t salt and 1 t herbs.
Butter a large glass baking dish and arrange filets in dish, pouring over
half (½ c) of the wine and all of the lemon juice.
Meanwhile, slice the onion, tomatoes and bell peppers. Sauté the opnions and
bell peppers in butter until soft. Add the tomatoes and sauté another
minute, adding the remaining salt and herbs. Add the wine and bring to boil
for about two minutes and remove from heat.
Place the fish in the oven for about five minutes, until lightly golden.
Add the sautéed vegetable mixture to the to the top of the filets and bake
another 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook.
By Marcela Otaegui and Francisco Bañados