Fish fillets baked with tomatoes and herbs
A spicy, Brazilian-inspired fish dish.
Scallions, tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro, with a good drizzle of olive oil. It’s simple, and a truly Latin American taste. To me, it brings back the delicious home cooking of my mother's friends, when I was a teenager living in Rio de Janeiro.
When those talented cooks made one of their home dishes, spicy and hot, you tasted an entirely different and savory world. I miss that food, and sometimes miss dendé oil – that pungent, reddish-orange, viscous oil that flavors so much Brazilian cooking.
But olive oil is good, too. I most often cook fish with some variation of onions, tomatoes and cilantro, splashed with olive oil. It takes 10 minutes to prepare, and while it’s baking, I can cook a vegetable and maybe some rice. Voila, dinner.
This dish is best served with some Bossa Nova in the background.
- 1-2 fillets per person, depending on thickness
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped into finger-sized lengths
- 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime or lemon
- Salt, pepper, and paprika
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
Pour the lime or lemon juice over the fillets. Turn them over to make sure that all parts of the fish have been bathed in the juice.
On a baking pan, make a bed of the chopped scallions, half the chopped tomatoes and most of the chopped cilantro.
Place the fish on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika over the fillets.
Spoon the rest of the tomatoes and some cilantro over the fish. Salt the vegetables lightly.
Drizzle olive oil over all.
Bake until the fish is entirely white and flakes easily when probed with a fork. This takes from 15-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.