Monsieur Taverne, the florist who lives across the street from us, has described this as one of his favorite dishes during the summer tomato season. This dish is so fast and easy you’ll be surprised what an elegant presentation it makes. You can use any white fish. Just make sure it is the freshest possible. Of course, you need a really ripe tomato with some acidity and character. Capers are also a welcome addition here, tossed over the tomatoes just as you remove the dish from the oven.
NOTE: The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.
1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds (625 to 750 g cod, lingcod, halibut, or other firm white fish fillets, trimmed, bones removed
1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter
1 ¼ pounds (625 g) tomatoes, cored and cut into 6 wedges each
2 tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ c (5 g) loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves or another herb of your choice such as basil, dill, chives or parsley
1. Rinse the fillets, pat them dry, and refrigerate them until ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C/gas 6)
2. Butter a large baking dish. Lay the fish in the dish (skin-side down if there is skin on the fillets), and arrange the tomato wedges around the fish. Drizzle the fish and the tomatoes with the lemon juice, then season all with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the tarragon leaves over the fish and bake until the fish is opaque and the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove the dish from the oven, scatter the remaining tarragon leaves over the fish, and season with a fine sprinkling of pepper. Serve immediately.
From On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Broadway Books, 2012).
Susan Herrmann Loomis teaches cooking classes in Normandy and Paris www.onruetatin.com.
Find her cookbooks in the Food & Wine sections of the France Today Bookstore.