Monday, April 6, 2009

Baked Blue Fish with Tomatoes (Psaria Plaki)

Plaki is my “"juuhachi-ban", which is literally my "18th" and means my “best” dish in Japanese. (Please refer to this site if you want to know more about “juuhachi-ban”). To tell the truth, I wanted to keep this recipe a secret so that I can always surprise my friends with this delicious dish, which is very easy to prepare and never failed me as long as the ingredients are fresh. Plaki was the first Greek dish I learned from my husband whose native country is Greece. Before I met him, I knew only one Greek dish, moussaka, which I never had tasted. After I started seeing him, he took me to many Greek restaurants and also cooked for me. I gradually learned how to cook Greek dishes. Then I realized Greek cuisine is very similar to Japanese cuisine. We both enjoy lightly-seasoned seafood and fresh vegetables. "Plaki" is one of these dishes. Using a lot of olive oil and tomatoes is not common in Japanese cooking but the taste of plaki reminds me of Japanese food. One day I even poured soy sauce on plaki and made my husband mad! Traditionally, in Greece, people cook plaki with mackerel fish. But red snapper, cod, sea bass and drum fish can be used equally well for this dish. The secret is to have very fresh fish, lots of tomatoes and onions and extra virgin olive oil.
1 lb fish (both a whole fish or fish fillets are fine)
3-4 cups of diced tomatoes (or thinly sliced tomatoes)
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white wine Salt and freshly ground black pepper Oregano
Optional: 2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
1. Preheat the oven to 360 F degrees.
2. If you use a whole fish, scale it off, take out the guts and gills and wash the fish well.
3. Place the potatoes and the fish in an oven pan.
4. Pour the white wine and half a cup of olive oil over the fish. Season with the salt and freshly ground pepper.
5. Put the green onions, garlic and tomatoes over the fish. Sprinkle the oregano.
6. Bake in the preheat oven for about 30 minutes till the fish is done.
7. Transfer to the plates and pour the rest of the olive oil. Serve hot!

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