Fish with Spinach, Olives and Tomatoes

Why is it with fish that whenever I have a particular dish in mind when shopping, the shops never have the fish I want?  I really wanted a flat fish for this – lemon sole would have been my first choice, but I’d have settled for Plaice, which is what Jamie Oliver used in  Happy Days with the Naked Chef, which is where this recipe is adapted from.  As there was no flat fish, I chose some small fillets of pouting as they were the flattest fish I could see and they didn’t have many bones in them.  I just hate removing bones, trying to grasp them between your nails and pulling only to be left with raw fish beneath your nails and the bone still in the fish.  Yes, I know I could use tweezers – but that would mean going on a hunt around the flat to find them.

The filling in the middle is a variation of tapenade so you could use a jar of tapenade instead of making it, but it can easily be made while the sauce is simmering.   I loved the ways the olives flavoured the sauce but my lovely husband found it a bit fishy.  Unfortunately, that is a problem he seems to have with fish.  Why can’t you get sea bass? He asked.   Ok, next time.  Or, as soon as I can find it…

I am submitting this to IHCC. The theme this week is Something Fishy.

Ingredients – Serves 2

4 small fish or 2 larger ones – flat fish is best but small thin white fish also work, ideally skinless and boneless

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 small onion, chopped

1 large clove of garlic, chopped

1 cup stock (or wine)

75g stoned black olives

2 anchovies

1 tsp dried basil – but use fresh if you have it

2 handfuls of spinach


Black pepper

Olive oil

How to make Fish with Spinach, Olives and Tomatoes

1. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan.   When hot add the onion and garlic.  When it softens add the stock, basil and chopped tomatoes. Turn the heat down so it simmers gently.

2. Prepare the olive paste.   Put the olives and anchovies in a food processor with a little olive oil.   Blend till smooth.

3. Remove the skin from the fish if it has it and any bones. Spread the fillets with  the olive paste. Roll up and secure with cocktail sticks.

4. Gently place the fish into the sauce.  Put the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the fish from the pan.   Add the spinach and stir till it wilts then spoon the rest of the sauce over the fish.

6. Serve with fresh bread.

Chinese Squid

So, I’m back from Croatia and have discovered lots of ways to eat squid, and not just in a seafood pasta.  The squid I had in pasta was very good but the Croats also seemed quite keen on stuffing small ones with cheese and Dalmatian ham before grilling or barbecuing them.   Nice, but the ones I had were a bit tough and slightly overpowered by the strong cheese and ham.   Anyway, Croatian food aside, this recipe is actually one I made before my holiday but didn’t have time to post.   I’ve called it Chinese squid but I’m not sure if the Chinese really would cook it this way – I never had any squid like this when I was in China.    But, without a better name for it…  It’s really important that the squid is cooked quickly so it’s still tender.   The vegetables should also still be crunchy and  light – but you don’t need to use these vegetables, I just used what I had.   And finally, the lime gives it all a nice zing.

Ingredients – Serves 2

2 squid, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 green pepper, sliced

1/4 white cabbage, sliced into thin strips

3 spring onions, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 clove of garlic, sliced

1 knob ginger, sliced into sticks

1 chilli pepper, thinly sliced

2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

How to Make Chinese Squid

1. Make sure everything is prepared before  you start cooking so you can  cook everything quickly.   Heat a dash of flavourless oil in a wok and about 1/2 cm in a saucepan.  If you are serving it with rice, the rice should be almost ready when you begin.

2. Add all the vegetables to the wok.   Keep stirring.    They will only take about three minutes.    Add the soy sauce and the lime juice at the end.

3. Toss the squid in the flour and then add the squid to the saucepan with the oil.   The squid will only take 1-2 minutes.   It will puff up a bit and turn white.   When ready remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and put on kitchen roll to drain off the excess oil.

4. Serve the squid on top of the vegetables.