Leeks and fish get a carry from a tangy salsa verde

I by no means appreciated leeks as a vegetable — versus an fragrant — till I ate them with French dressing in Paris throughout my school yr overseas.

At a tiny cafe that was midway between my studio house close to Porte Saint-Martin and my finest buddy’s seventh-floor walk-up close to the Seine, the 2 of us spent our evenings ingesting carafes of purple wine and dealing our means by the very basic menu: tacky croque-madames, herby escargots, oeufs mayonnaise.

The leeks French dressing was the most important shock. The mild leeks regarded plain on the plate — pale, monochrome, unadorned by any herbs or garnishes — however they hit us proper between the eyes. They have been coated in a French dressing with a lot spicy Dijon it made our sinuses burn; we couldn’t get sufficient. So we added much more from the mustard pot on the desk, then wiped up the oily slicks with torn bits of baguette. It gave us fortitude for the lengthy stroll residence by the chilly Paris night time.

Back in New York, I attempted to make leeks French dressing with as a lot sharpness and vim, however it was exhausting to match the flavour. The mustard I might get didn’t have the identical piercing chew.

Instead, to imitate that play of pungent and delicate, I started pairing silky leeks with different zippy condiments and sauces. Salsa verde, with its mixture of citrus, minced herbs and loads of uncooked garlic, was an ideal companion, balancing the sweetness of the leeks with a bracing tanginess.

In this extra substantial variation, the leeks and salsa verde are rounded out with quick-cooking fish fillets.

I notably just like the mellowness of white fillets like cod, halibut or hake right here, however salmon or tuna would additionally work, lending extra richness to the combination.

To make this as weeknight pleasant as doable, I roast the fish and leeks collectively in a single pan.

Roasted Fish With Leeks and Olive Salsa Verde

Total time: half-hour

  • 4 thick fillets white fish, similar to cod or halibut (about 1 1/2 kilos whole)
  • Salt and freshly floor black pepper
  • 3 medium leeks, trimmed, white and lightweight inexperienced elements halved lengthwise and rinsed effectively
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

For the Olive Salsa Verde:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated, minced or pushed by a garlic press
  • Large pinch of red-pepper flakes, or to style
  • Fine sea or desk salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat oven to 425 levels. Season fish throughout with salt and pepper, and put aside whilst you put together the leeks.

2. Cut the leeks into matchsticks: Place a leek half, flat aspect down, on a chopping board and minimize it in half crosswise. Then slice the items lengthwise into skinny (1/4-inch-thick) matchsticks. Repeat with remaining leeks.

3. Spread leeks out on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly drizzle them with oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Push apart the leeks to create 4 areas within the heart of the sheet pan simply giant sufficient for the fish fillets, then place the fillets in these cleared areas. (Avoid placing the fish on high of the leeks, which gained’t prepare dinner as effectively in the event that they’re lined.)

4. Drizzle fish with oil. Roast till the fish is opaque and simply cooked by however not but flaky, about 10 to fifteen minutes, relying on the thickness of fish. The leeks surrounding the fish will probably be delicate and silky, whereas these on the edges of the pan could flip delightfully brown and crisp in spots. If the fish is finished however you suppose the leeks want somewhat extra time, switch the fish to a serving platter, tent with foil to maintain heat, and proceed to prepare dinner the leeks for an additional jiffy.

5. While the fish is within the oven, make the salsa verde: Using a fantastic rasp grater, grate 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest right into a small bowl. Halve the lemon and squeeze in 1 tablespoon juice.

6. Stir in olives, cilantro, garlic, red-pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Slowly drizzle in oil, stirring to mix. Taste and add extra salt, red-pepper flakes or one other squeeze of lemon, if wanted.

7. Place fish on plates and encompass with leeks. Top with olive salsa verde.

Yield: 4 servings

This article initially appeared in The New York Times.

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