Plaice with Basil, Potatoes and Olives


by: Panda Girl

Plaice is a fish I never saw in Italy, and here it seems very underrated — the ugly sister of the likes of sole — but it is fantastic when it is properly cooked. The problem with plaice is that because it is thin it is easily overcooked. Often people fry it in butter to crisp it up, but the butter burns, and everything tastes horrible. By cooking it in an herb crust you can turn the disadvantage of its thinness into a virtue, because you can get the crispiness without burning it, and the fish stays moist and protected inside. For the crust, we took some of the ingredients of pesto — including Parmesan, which goes against the rule of serving cheese and fish — and mixed them with some ciabatta, soaked in water, and bread crumbs. (In Italy, from north to south, everyone has bread crumbs in the kitchen)


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serves: 4

2 bunches of basil (trimmed)

bunch of parsley, trimmed

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 slices (4 1/2*3 1/4*3/4") ciabatta (crust removed and soaked in water)

1 tablespoon bread crumbs

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan

8 new potatoes (unpeeled)

4 tablespoons tomato passata

8 skinless plaice fillets (each about 5 ounces)

12 black olives (preferably Tagiasche; buy them pit in, then take out the pit)

4 teaspoons sunflower or vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Nutrition Facts
Plaice with Basil, Potatoes and Olives

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 889

  • Total Fat: 36 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 5.2 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 151.2 mg
  • Sodium: 1405.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 81.9 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 12.3 g
  •     Sugars: 7.3 g
  • Protein: 59.6 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  Keeping back a few leaves, put the basil into a food processor with the parsley leaves, garlic and 4 teaspoons of the olive oil. Process until the herbs and garlic are chopped, but not too fine.

2.  Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add to the herbs and oil. Add the bread crumbs and Parmesan and continue to process until you have a bright green paste. Put into the fridge until needed.

3.  Put the unpeeled potatoes into cold salted water, bring to the boil, turn down the beat and cook until just tender (about 15 to 20 minutes), then drain.

4.  Put the tomato passata into a small pan, season and add 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. Leave over a low heat to reduce and thicken to a sauce—like consistency.

5.  Peel the potatoes and cut in half.

6.  On a clean work surface, lay out the plaice fillets and cut each one across in half. With a small table knife or spatula, spread each fillet with some herb paste, leaving a border all the way around the edge about 1/4 inch wide. Cover with plastic Wrap to avoid the crust darkening.

7.  Heat a nonstick pan, put in a tablespoon of the remaining olive oil, add the potatoes and cook them until golden all over. Add the olives and toss for a minute or two — don't let the olives get too dry. Turn off the heat.

8.  Heat 2 more nonstick pans to medium—hot and divide the sunflower or vegetable oil between them. Lift each piece of fish and put it into the pan, crust side down. Season the flesh and let the fish cook until the crust becomes slightly golden and the borders of fish around it become completely golden.

9.  Turn on the heat under the potatoes and olives. Add the reserved basil to the pan containing the tomato sauce.

10.  When the fish has become white and opaque almost to the top, turn it over, then immediately take the pan off the heat.

11.  Spoon the potatoes and olives onto each of your serving plates and drizzle the tomato sauce around. Lift the fish out of the pan, place on top of the potatoes and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over. Serve.

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