Pan Seared Fish w/ Artichoke Caponata & Orzo
This is one of the best fish dishes I have ever made at home. The artichoke caponata (Sicilian relish) served on top and mixed in with orzo really made it.
It was a great weeknight dish and also elegant enough for a dinner party.
The original recipe calls for mahi mahi, which my fish monger did not have, but halibut or sea bass would be a good choice, something meaty enough for the grill or grill pan.
My original inspiration came from a Food & Wine article on Chef Recipes Made Easy. This definitely tasted and looked like a restaurant meal.
The original caponata recipe called for marinated artichokes, pine nuts and celery.
I substituted a can of artichokes instead, and omitted the celery and nuts and used red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar. What a rebel I am!
I loved it just the way I made it.
Another nice thing about this dish is that you can make the artichoke salsa the night before, so all you have to do for dinner is grill the fish & cook the orzo!
It doesn't get any easier than this (well, maybe Chinese take out is easier, but then you have to pick it up.....unless you have it delivered).
Fish w/ Artichoke Caponata: (adapted loosely from Food & Wine)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped (or a 1/2 cup of canned tomatoes)
1/2 cup pitted green olives
2 tbsp capers, drained
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp sugar
1 can artichokes in water, drained and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp fresh basil, sliced into confetti (chiffonade)
kosher salt & pepper and olive oil for the pan
2 lbs. white fish (halibut or sea bass), cut into 4 pcs.
1/2 box orzo pasta
For the artichoke caponata:
Heat a large skillet w/ olive oil and on medium heat, cook the onion and garlic until wilted, about 4 minutes (do not brown the garlic or onion).
Add the tomatoes, wine, vinegar, artichokes, olives, sugar and capers.
Simmer this mixture on low for about 8 minutes until getting thick.
Stir in the basil and let cool.
(the artichoke salsa can be made 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge.
For the orzo (I made the orzo while the fish was cooking):
Boil the orzo 9 minutes as per package instructions, and drain. Place the orzo back in the pot (or a bowl).
Add a few tbsp of olive oil and mix in about 4 tbsp of the artichoke caponata in with the orzo (but save enough to top the fish). Put lid back on pot to keep the orzo warm.
For the fish:
I chose beautiful fresh sea bass filets, which my fish monger cut into four 1/2 lb. servings and removed the skin for me (he is the best!).
Light a grill or a grill pan. Rub the fish with olive oil and season with kosher salt & pepper on both sides. Grill over medium high heat, turning once, until cooked thru, about 12 minutes (these were thick pieces).
Plate the orzo salad on 4 plates and lay a piece of fish on top of the orzo.
Spoon some artichoke salsa on top of each piece of fish and serve.
Serve with a nice crisp white wine and enjoy!