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Sicilian-Style Roast Fish

One of the things I love about Italian cooking is how a few quality ingredients can transform a simple recipe into a memorable dish.

Here, fish fillets seasoned with just oregano, lemon, and salt and pepper are roasted. The finishing touch is a simple-to-make but unexpected vinaigrette-style sauce of fresh onion, garlic, and – surprise – mint!

We tend to think of mint as a sweet flavor, but botanically it is in the basil family and does well in many savory dishes. (If you don’t have mint, substitute basil in this recipe.)

When I lived in Florida, I made this frequently with fresh local fish, often a variety of snapper. But you can use whatever sustainably caught fish is available, including frozen fillets which often are fresher than the fish in the seafood case. Just thaw them according to package instructions and check them after 5 minutes in the oven. Your cooked fish should be moist and opaque but does not need to be flakey to be done.

A good all-around prep knife for this recipe is a 9-1/4" French Chef knife. Use it to mince the onion and garlic, and chop the mint leaves for the sauce. It can also be used to make lemon zest. Remove a thin layer of lemon peel with a Vegetable Peeler and then slice it with the 9-1/4" French Chef into strips before rocking the knife over the peel into a zest.

French Chef knife used for prep work.

Sicilian-Style Roast Fish

4 Servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, tightly packed, finely chopped, divided

Fish:

  • 4 8-ounce fish fillets, such as mahi mahi, yellowtail snapper or grouper
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. To make sauce, combine onion, garlic, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature while fish cooks. Just before serving, whisk in oil and 3 tablespoons chopped mint. (Reserve remaining tablespoon of mint for garnish.)
  2. Heat the oven to 400 F. Oil a sheet pan. Place fish in pan, skin-side down, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano, about a teaspoon of lemon zest and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Roast uncovered just until fish is cooked through (no longer opaque), about 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of fish.
  3. To serve, spoon sauce over the fish and garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves.

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