The simplicity of fresh ingredients makes this Fish Baked in Tomato Sauce a weeknight favorite in my house.
This approachable dish made with easy to find ingredients actually comes from a Turkish cafe in the Black Sea Region. It is just one of many unique recipes found in food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt’s latest cookbook, Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring Turkey’s Diverse Cuisines. But before you think this is another book calling for exotic ingredients, take note – most of the recipes use common ingredients in an unexpected way, and each is designed for the home cook.
Not only that, but this book of more than 125 recipes, well-seasoned stories, and engaging photographs, Istanbul and Beyond takes readers on a mesmerizing culinary journey across Turkey’s vast regions.
If there is one thing I really appreciate is a fellow traveler and culinary explorer.
I was thrilled to meet Robyn and her photographer husband David Hagerman.
Their sixteen months of research in Istanbul and eastern Turkey has made their passion for Turkey, its people & food absolutely contagious.
Robyn’s recipes introduce the colorful dishes of Turkey’s distinct regional cuisines.
Here are a few I tasted at a media luncheon at Melissa’s Produce.
Corn Salad with Eggplant & Dill pg. 89
Spicy Egg Salad pg. 260
Fingerprint Flatbread pg. 177
Green Olive Salad with Pomegranate Molasses pg. 272
Cabbage Rolls in Tomato & Sumac Sauce pg. 237
Slow Cooked Beef & Vegetables pg. 152
Hazelnut Bar Cookies pg. 117
Fragrant Orange Cookies pg. 75
Robyn demonstrated at Melissa’s Produce how to make the most delicious cabbage rolls. If you would like a tutorial on how to make them, check out Maggie’s blog Omnivore’s Cookbook.
Here are a few other delicious recipes that I have also tried at home.
Sweet Triangle Buns filled with Caramelized Corn Flour page 93
Corn & Creme Fraiche Biscuits page 132 with Cherry Tomato Preserves page 160 served with Blue Cheese
Today’s Recipe: Fish Baked In Tomato Sauce
I made this recipe with fresh tomatoes and, just recently, with canned tomatoes. I honestly preferred the canned tomato version so try it this way, then wait until summer and try them with the fresh so you can decide for yourself.
This comes together quickly, making it the perfect weeknight meal. I served it with broccoli to round out the meal.
- 3 medium-large ripe, juicy tomatoes, chopped (about 2½ cups), or one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (about ⅓ cup)
- 1 medium green, red, or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced (about ⅔ cup)
- 1 or 2 green jalapenos or 1 Anaheim chile, halved lengthwise, seeded if desired, and diced
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 pound salmon, mackerel, or other
skln-on fillets (I used orange roughy)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter (optional)
- 1 medium tomato, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- Combine the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, chiles, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, add the water, and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a steady simmer and stir in the vinegar. Cook, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced to a semi-thick sauce, about 20 minutes if using canned tomatoes, 25 to 30 minutes if using fresh tomatoes.
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- When the sauce is done, lay the fish fillets on top of it. Divide the oil or butter, if using, between the fillets. Arrange the tomato slices over the fish.
- Bake the fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness for medium to well-done, or to your preferred doneness. Sprinkle the parsley over the fish and serve immediately.
I have really enjoyed reading and cooking my way through Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring Turkey’s Diverse Cuisines. What I find interesting are the incredibly diverse kitchen techniques that are found in every culture’s cuisine to make dishes that are actually quite similar to each other – maybe it’s just one big culinary world with different ways to achieve the same result.
When this cookbook is not in my kitchen, it’s on my coffee table so my guests can enjoy the wonderful photographs of Istanbul and Beyond.
…and then, she paused for thought.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Istanbul and Beyond to cook with. All opinions are my own.