Galicia, located in Spain's Northern part, prides itself with its seafood produce. In one of Mark Wein's episodes in YouTube, he featured Michelin-starred restaurant D'berto and its sumptuous offerings to the discerning palate. In particular, what caught my eye is a particular fish using seabream.
The restaurant uses seabream (or bacoco in Tagalog) but other popular fishes are also used such as seabass (called lubina in Spanish or apahap in Tagalog) which has a similar dish called Lubina al horno (aptly translated as baked fish) or lubina al horno con patate (or baked fish with potatoes).
The dish looked beautiful, appetizing and, most especially, can be easily prepared — something that I love about Spanish cooking. In fact, a lot of their dishes are quite easy to make that it can be served both for weekdays, weekends or anytime when you have an occasion.
Relating it to Philippine cuisine, the dish also is a good meal to try and make especially for those running out of ideas what else to prepare. Admittedly, we do tend to lean towards meat dishes but this fish recipe can make for a great weeknight/weekend meal that the family will love. Add this list to your recipe notes and give more options aside from the usual fried, steamed, grilled, paksiw, pangat, sinigang, sweet and sour options we have.
In addition, this is also a great choice for those wanting to go meatless and to start incorporating fish more sustainably in their meal plans but did not grow up liking local fish dishes. I get my fish from a Malabon supplier and his list is comprehensive enough to pique my interest, what with the many fish varieties we have in our seas. It is also a great excuse to try bacoco since the price point is more or less economical, making this dish truly sustainable and accessible.
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Baked fish in potatoes
(Besugo al horno con patate)
– 1 large seabream fish (bacoco) about 800g to 1kg, gutted and cleaned. You may opt to use seabass (apahap) as well
– Salt and pepper
– About 5 to 6 potatoes, thinly sliced
– Extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash, clean and peel the potatoes. To thinly slice, use mandolin for ease.
2. Season with salt and pepper and dress with extra virgin olive oil. You may add other herbs or spices of your choice such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc.
3. Assemble/line in a try to make for the base of the fish.
4. Pre-heat the oven at 180-degrees Celsius. Cover the tray with foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes.
5. To prepare the fish, simple season with salt and pepper. You have the option to serve it whole or butterfly cut.
6. Optional: you may also sear the fish in a pan very quickly to have some color.
7. Once fish is prepared you may add this in the tray (the potatoes by this time should be half-cooked), cover with foil again and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes until the fish is cooked and flaky.
This recipe yields about 4 servings depending on the size of the fish.
Serve this with a simple green salad. This could be your choice of lettuce leaves, white onions, white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
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