This side of fish looks so beautiful when served! Choose which fish you like – salmon, trout, sea bass or other types of fish are all delicious topped with crunchy chopped pistachios, breadcrumbs, parmesan, olives, capers, lemon and herbs. Easy to prepare in advance then simply roasts for 12-20 minutes in a hot oven.
I think this dish makes a nice entertaining recipe for any time of the year, but especially over the holidays. It’s nice to have a change up from turkey, ham or beef sometimes and fish is always elegant. I love all the green in this crunchy topping. Make up the topping up to three days in advance by roasting pistachios, then chopping them a little in a food processor with the other ingredients. You want to pulse until the mixture to resemble pebbles, not too fine like sand. Some melted butter and parmesan help to bind everything together (plus make it extra delicious!).
When you are ready to cook this dish: firstly, it’s always important to feel along the side of fish to check for any pin bones and remove with tweezers if you find any. No one likes to find a bone and have to do that embarrassing shimmy with the napkin whilst making polite dinner conversation.
Place the side of fish skin down on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper – go from corner to corner if you need to. A slathering of dijon mustard all along the fish will make sure the crust sticks on. Just pack it on and press down lightly to make a crust.
This fish generally roasts in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes. If your fish is fairly small, Definitely check after 10-12 minutes to see if the thickest part is getting done. It should be just turned opaque and able to flake apart. A large side of salmon will take 20-25 minutes. I love cooking fish for this reason! You can have an incredible meal in no time at all. I would choose a soft and flaky fish for this recipe, probably not one like Tuna or Swordfish. I’m sure it would work just fine, I just tend to treat those meaty types of fish very simply, like a steak. Plainly grilled with a little sauce and lemon are all they need.
Here is your Side of Fish recipe:
- 1 medium-large sized whole fillet side of fish, pin-boned
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- ½ cup pistachios
- ½ cup green olives, pitted
- 2 tbsp capers
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup packed soft green herbs (mix of parsley, basil, dill, coriander, and/or mint, etc)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup melted butter
- Roast the pistachios either in the oven (180C/350F) or dry toast in a frying pan over medium heat - they only take 8-10 minutes maximum.
- Add the pistachios to a food processor with the olives, capers, breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon zest. Give the herbs a rough chop and add those, too. Pulse until the mixture resembles pebbles (don't go too far so it is like the texture of sand)
- Pour in the butter and mix to just combine. Set aside or store in fridge until ready to top the fish.
- Preheat oven to 200C/390F.
- Place the fish skin side down on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Run your hands along the fish to check for pinbones. Remove with tweezers if you find any.
- Season with salt and pepper, Then spread the mustard all over the flesh of the fish. Then pack the topping on top. Press down all over so it sticks and spread it evenly.
- Bake in the oven for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your side of fish. Check with a knife to see if the flesh is flaking and just turning opaque.
- Once out of the oven, cut the fish into equal portions and carefully lift each portion onto the plate with a fish slice or spatula.
I’m a huge fan of aioli. It is such a versatile sauce to have on hand and it’s so easy! None of that reducing wine or taking 10 steps to complete. There are only 5 ingredients and its really easy to add other flavourings if you want to make it more refined, such as chopped herbs, chili or truffle oil. I’ve adapted this easy formula for aioli from the kitchen I’ve been working part time in, The Field Bistro at the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club.
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup mayonaise
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Dollop onto roast fish or vegetables, spread on sandwiches or burgers or use as a dipping sauce.