There was fresh asparagus in the fridge which I wanted to use, as well as a few grape tomatoes, half an avocado and a lemon. It's been a while since we had fish, so that was my choice. The asparagus was crisp, the tomatoes were hot, juicy and sweet and the avocados were cold and buttery; it all contrasted well with the silky tartness of the tartar sauce.
I also cooked up some brown rice, with minced leeks, fresh thyme, garlic and a bayleaf for flavour.
Everyone in the house loves tartar sauce, so it was expected that I make some for the fish!
For the tartar sauce, combine:
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons minced dill pickles
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
2/3 cup mayonnaise
a few drops of hot sauce
Mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Chill until needed.
For the fish, pre-heat the oven to 350F.
For the fish seasoning, combine:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towel. This is important if the fish was previously frozen, as mine was.
Divide the lemon thyme seasoning between the fillets (I used 9 pieces of sole), rubbing it onto the skin side of the fish.
Lay 3 asparagus spears across each piece of fish.
Starting at the tail end, roll the fish up around the asparagus, and place the rolls in an ovenproof dish, leaving a bit of space between each roll.
Cut the grape tomatoes in half. I had about 1 cup of tomatoes.
Place them around the fish in the dish.
Sprinkle the fish and tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
Bake the fish and tomatoes for about 20 minutes. The fish will be firm, the asparagus will be roasted, but still crisp and the tomatoes will be softened.
Serve 3 rolls per person, topped with the roasted grape tomatoes and diced avocado, and accompanied by the tartar sauce.
- Sole is a good choice for pairing with strong flavours. The mildness of the fish allows the other flavours to shine through.
- The tartar sauce can be brightened up with the addition of lemon zest and chopped fresh parsley or chives.
- Fish that has been frozen has more water in it than fresh fish; that is the reason for drying the fillets with paper towel.
- The fish seasoning can be altered to suit your tastes, or the ingredients you have available. Some suggestions are: fresh chives or parsley; minced shallots; cayenne pepper; minced capers or olive tapenade.
- If you prefer your asparagus on the softer side, blanch and cool the spears before placing them in the fish.
- Instead of asparagus, try broccoli florets or roasted red peppers.
- If you are using a fish that is thicker than sole and therefore not easy to roll, lay the fish flat in the dish, rub with the seasoning and place the vegetables on top. Drizzle with olive oil and bake.
- Instead of tartar sauce, make a lemon-white wine butter sauce. Add 1/2 cup white wine to the baking dish with the fish. When the fish is cooked, keep it warm while you finish off the sauce: place the liquid from the baking dish into a frying pan along with the juice of 1 lemon, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Then quickly whisk in 3 tablespoons of cold butter, that has been cut into small pieces. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- The fish rolls can also be baked on a bed of thinly sliced vegetables, such as onion, leek, red pepper and carrot, with garlic and fresh herbs. These vegetables will flavour the fish, as well as create a lovely accompaniment for serving with the fish.
- If you have leftover cooked fish such as salmon or crab, combine it with chopped cooked spinach, minced shallots, lemon zest and chopped fresh thyme. Add a bit of cream cheese or soft goat cheese to bind it and give a creamier consistency if you like. Use this as your stuffing.