At the moment I have plenty of French tarragon growing in our garden so I’m using it as much as I can with other herbs which have finally started to grow quickly now that the weather is a bit warmer. On Sunday we bought home a piece of hapuku (my favourite) from our weekend fish counter and, wanting to do something other than simply panfrying it, I decided on oven baking it with a crispy crust of fresh breadcrumbs and herbs. I accompanied this with a tomato salad that had lots more herbs.
Herb Crusted Fish
1 large piece of hapuku or other meaty white fish
2-3 slices of a good quality bread, crusts removed, cut into rough cubes and pulsed to crumbs in a food processor
Handful of finely chopped parsley
Handful (or less) of chopped tarragon leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of a small lemon
Salt and pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line in baking tray or dish with baking paper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place the fish on the paper and brush over a bit more oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper just before you spread over the crumbs.In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, lemon zest and juice and cayenne (if using) and moisten with olive oil. Spread this over the top of the fish gently patting it down.
Place in the oven for about 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Check it after 10 minutes.
Serve with the tomato and herb salad (make the salad first and let it sit while the fish cooks)
Tomato and Herb Salad
4-5 small roma tomatoes (acid free), cut into chunks
A good handful of finely chopped fresh herbs – I used tarragon, dill, parsley and chives
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp pomegranate dressing (available from Tahsin at the market)
Olive oil – enough to moisten the tomatoes
Gently combine all the ingredients except the salt. Leave the salad to sit at room temperature while the fish cooks. This lets all the flavours combine. Season with salt just before serving otherwise too much moisture will come out of the tomatoes if you do it too soon.