Roasted Fish Topped with Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade

This is, quite simply, a fantastic recipe – it takes no time at all but has the kind of taste that makes people think you spent hours in the kitchen. And another of its great virtues is that, apart from the fish itself and fresh basil leaves, the whole thing is made from storecupboard ingredients.

Serves 6

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection and The Delia Collection: Fish.

Roasted Fish Topped with Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade
 6 tail-end pieces of cod or haddock weighing 6-7 oz (175-200 g) each, skin removed
For the tapenade:
 10 oz (275 g) jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained, reserving the oil
 185 g tin pitted black olives in brine, drained and rinsed, or 175 g bought loose
 2 x 15 g packs (or 1 oz) basil leaves
 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled
 1 heaped teaspoon (about 36) green peppercorns in brine, rinsed and drained
 50 g tin of anchovies including the oil
 3 heaped tablespoons capers, drained and pressed between double layers of absorbent kitchen paper
 3 tablespoons oil from the tomatoes
 freshly milled black pepper
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C)


Begin by reserving 6 whole olives and 6 medium basil leaves from the ingredients, then all you do to make the tapenade – which can be made 2 or 3 days in advance – is place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together to a coarse paste.

It's important not to over-process; the ingredients should retain some of their identity.

When you're ready to cook the fish, wipe the fillets with kitchen paper, season, then fold them by tucking the thin end into the centre then the thick end on top of that so you have a neat, slightly rounded shape.

Turn them over and place on an oiled baking sheet, then divide the tapenade mixture equally between them, using it as a topping.

Press it on quite firmly with your hands, then lightly roughen the surface with a fork.

Dip the reserved basil leaves in a little of the reserved tomato oil and place one on the top of each piece of fish, following that with an olive.

Now place the baking tray on a high shelf in the oven, bake the fish for 20-25 minutes, and serve straight away.

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