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Simple Sauces for Fish and other foods
© Sue Courtney
9 Jan 2006

A simple meal can be made just a little more decadent with a simple sauce, especially if you have all the ingredients on hand. Here are a couple of my favourites -

* Basil and Balsamic Tomato Sauce
* Pan Fried Snapper with Sauted Pears and a Cream Sauce.

Basil and Balsamic Tomato Sauce
One of my favourite cooked tomato dishes is Slow Roasted Tomatoes. Firm, vine tomatoes are halved across the midriff, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with sugar, salt and pepper and topped with an oil dipped basil leaf then roasted in a slow oven for an hour or so. The flavours are rich and balanced and the tomatoes can be enjoyed while still warm, or when cold.

This sauce uses the same ingredients. It is easy to make if you have all the ingredients on hand and can be utilised for any meal. I've been enjoying it on toast for breakfast and it is also delicious atop an egg fried in basil-infused avocado oil. Use it as a pizza base or pasta topping, or serve over meat for dinner.

It's also delicious served with white fish fillets, accompanied by a zesty, zingy, new vintage sauvignon blanc.

For two people you will need -
One or two large tomatoes, that when peeled and chopped yields between 3/4 to a whole cup.
1 large, fat spring onion (long green onion)
1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of basil-infused avocado oil - if you can get it, otherwise extra virgin olive oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon good quality aged balsamic vinegar (use equal quantities of sugar and vinegar)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
half a dozen fresh basil leaves, rolled and finely sliced.

Blanch the tomato(s) in boiling water, peel and dice. Peeling is essential otherwise you end up with sharp pieces of skin that detract from the texture of the dish and can also catch in your throat.
Heat the oil in a small sized frying pan.
Add the spring onion and saute over low heat for 1-2 minutes to soften and partially caramelise. Do not burn.
Add the crushed garlic and saute half to one minute more.
Add the diced tomatoes and all their juices. Saute for about 30 seconds then add the sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and basil. Cook for 4-5 minutes, breaking up the tomato further with your cooking slice if you wish. Remove from heat until ready to serve.

Thickening is not necessary if you are going to use this as a sauce but if you are going to use as a pizza base, thicken with a little cornflour and water.

I like to serve the sauce, as is, over chicken or white fish fillets, but to enhance the sauce for pasta, add some ham and some feta cheese, if you like.

Accompany with sauvignon blanc, of course (unless you are having it over eggs for breakfast - it could be a little early in the day!

Pan Fried Snapper with Sauted Pears and a Cream Sauce.
This is a modification of a recipe from a booklet called Slimming with Seafood, produced by the NSW Fish Marketing Authority (ISBN 0 7305 0325 9). I picked it up in Sydney years ago and have no idea if it is still available.
The original recipe , 'Ocean Perch and Pear Saute' caught my eye, especially as I had bought some fresh pears (ours are not ripe yet). Pears and pinot gris would go quite well too, I thought, thinking of a wine match. I had to make some minor adjustments to the recipe, though and as it wanted natural non-fat yoghurt and I didnít have any of that. So I used delicious, silky, fattening, full-fat runny cream instead. Yum!

snapperwithpears.jpg For two people you will need -

Two snapper fillets (about 250 grams)
1 tablespoon butter
1 long green onion (spring onion) finely chopped
1 pear, peeled and sliced
1/8 cup white wine (I used pinot gris)
Strands of lemon zest
1/8 cup cream
Salt and pepper (optional)

Melt the butter and gently fry the fish fillets, approx 3 to 4 minutes, turning only once.
Remove fillets to a plate
Saute the spring onion in the pan juices, add the pear slices and cook until tender (but not too soft).
Stir in the white wine, salt and pepper if used, lemon rind and cream. Do not boil.
Return fillets to the pan and spoon the pear saute over. Allow to heat through well before serving one fillet to each person.

Serve with green salad and grated carrot.

Kia pai te kai

© Sue Courtney
10 Jan 2007


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