I eat a lot of fish, usually steamed (salmon) or baked (flounder, cod, or scrod). So the opportunity to dress it up appealed to me.
For this Applejeack Fish Bake recipe, I bought scrod fillets. Tilapia, available now in a lot of fish markets, would be an economical option.
Once the vegetables are julienned and sliced, the dish comes together quickly. In fact, the only “trick” in the entire preparation is to carefully remove the vegetables from around the fish when you remove it from the oven; that is, before you take the fish out of the baking dish.
With the vegetables set aside, you can get a spatula under the fish without worrying about a carrot or mushroom rolling or falling off en route to the platter.
Serve this with rice, and sprinkle a few drops of sauce on individual portions. This dish is also great with green beans, brussels sprouts, or spinach—any vegetable that marries well with lemon.
Applejack Fish Bake Recipe
(found on page 208 of The Garden-Fresh Cookbook)
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 to 4 carrots, julienned
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 fillets (4 to 6 ounces each) of firm-flesh white fish
3/4 cup applejack or hard cider, divided
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot
Zest of 1 lemon
Nutmeg, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the carrots and onion; cook until warm. Remove the vegetables and set them aside. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Cook just until warmed through. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set aside (separate from the carrots and onion).
Place the fish in a shallow baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the carrots and onion over the fish. Pour 1/4 cup of applejack and the apple juice into the skillet. Add any remaining juice from the lemon, stir to blend, and pour over the fish and vegetables. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
When the fish is done, carefully remove the carrots and onions and set them aside. Place the fillets on a warmed platter and cover to keep warm. Strain the cooking juices. In a skillet over medium heat, blend the remaining applejack with the arrowroot. Add the cooking juices and stir or whisk constantly, allowing the sauce to simmer and thicken. Add the carrots, onions, and mushrooms and cook until warm. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the fish. Sprinkle with lemon zest and a dash of nutmeg.
Makes 4 servings.
This entry is from guest blogger Janice Stillman, Editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac. You can continue reading about the adventures of our regular Garden-Fresh blogger, Jane B., in this space when she returns later this week.