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Today’s special: buns and tomato fish

india Updated: Jul 10, 2010 23:22 IST
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In this season, I want a dish that tampers with the tomato-fish formula as little as possible. So instead of cooking the tomatoes, I marinate them, and instead of braising the fish, I grill or roast it.

Start with the tomatoes, soaking them in olive oil, vinegar, garlic, jalapeno and oregano. As they release their juices, turn your attention to the fish.

By the time the fish is done, the tomatoes will have turned to a sweet and spicy vinaigrette-like salsa, the sharpness a perfect complement to the crunchy-skinned, fragrant fish.

What you need

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup olive oil, or more as needed

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon hot chili, like jalapeno

1 teaspoon oregano

4 cloves garlic, sliced, or more to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large whole fish or 2 smaller ones (1/2 kg total), like striped bass, rockfish or trout; preferably butterflied and boned, or simply gutted

1 lemon, sliced

4 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme.

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, chili, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large bowl; let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Using a knife, make three or four diagonal slashes down to the bone on each side of fish. Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper, then stuff with remaining garlic, a layer of lemon slices and thyme sprigs. Rub the fish outside with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Put fish in roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes (cooking time depends on fish size). The fish is done when exterior is crisp and a thin-bladed knife passes easily through the flesh.

4. Serve topped with tomatoes.

Pan Bagnat on a Bun

Pan bagnat is a classic southern French sandwich, essentially the makings of a niçoise salad inside a baguette or a round, hard roll. Instead of French bread, you can use whole wheat hamburger rolls.

What you need

For the dressing:

1 garlic clove

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the salad mixture:

1/4 cup grated carrot

1/2 can water-packed tuna, drained

4 or 5 thin slices of cucumber

Handful of lettuce or baby spinach

Thin slices red or green pepper

1 slice red onion (optional)

A few leaves fresh basil

1/2 hard-boiled egg, sliced

1 wholewheat hamburger bun

1. For the dressing, puree the garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle. Work in the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. Add pepper and set aside.

2. Combine all of the salad ingredients except the hard-boiled egg in a bowl, and toss with the dressing. Pile half of this mixture on the lower half of a bun. Push it down, and arrange the slices of egg and top with remaining salad. Cover with the top bun, press down and wrap in plastic. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, or for several hours in the refrigerator before cutting in half.

Nutritional information: 497 calories; 22 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 141 milligrams cholesterol; 43 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 856 milligrams sodium; 33 grams protein.