Chef's Note: Many Spanish fish dishes call for sauces made with almonds, hazelnuts, or pine nuts, sometimes in combination with tomatoes and saffron.
While hake or monkfish is traditionally used for this Catalan dish, you can substitute cod, sea bass, flounder, or another firm white fish. If you omit the tomatoes,
substitute almonds for the pine nuts, and use monkfish, you will have rape Albufera, named after a lake in the Valencia region.
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- Pinch of saffron threads, warmed and crushed, optional
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup fish stock or dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds firm white fish fillet, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 cup English peas, cooked until tender-crisp (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes.
Pour onto a plate to cool. Transfer 1/4 cup of the toasted nuts to a nut grinder or small food processor and grind or pulse until finely ground.
To make the sauce, in a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent,
about 8 minutes. Add the paprika, garlic, ground pine nuts, bread crumbs, and saffron, if using, and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock and cook,
stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
In a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper, add to the pan, and cook, turning once, until
browned on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side. Pour the sauce over the fish, add the peas, if using, and simmer until the fish is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes longer.
Transfer to a serving dish or individual dishes, and garnish with the remaining pine nuts and the parsley. Serve at once.
Spanish:Chardonnay/blend (Penedès, Tarragona), dry amontillado sherry (Jerez)
Non-Spanish: Rousanne/blend (France, California), Chardonnay (Argentina, New Zealand)
You can skip the step of browning the fish, and instead poach it in the sauce. Or, you can combine the fish and the sauce in a baking dish, making sure the fish is
fully covered by the sauce, and bake in a preheated in a 450°F oven until fish is tender, 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces.
If baking, do not reduce the sauce too much, as some of the liquid will evaporate in the oven.
Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain (Chronicle Books, 2009) by
Joyce Goldstein. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.