- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Fish is a light entree, so you may associate it with summer eating, but fish is just as delicious in November as it is in July, and by varying your recipes you can have your fill of fish the year round.

Baking probably wasn’t a welcome cooking method during the heat of summer, but you’ll appreciate it now as a way to make a succulent fish dish while you warm up the kitchen. Likewise, pan-frying is a technique you might want to embrace when the temperature drops.

During the outdoor-grilling season, you don’t have to do much to fish to flavor it. Add a little wood to the grill and a hint of fresh air, and the fish is seasoned to perfection.

Indoor fish cooking requires a little more attention.

You’ll find that adding your favorite herbs and spices and a bit of oil will enhance the taste and preserve the moistness.

Or you can oven-bake most fish steaks or fillets. Lake perch, also called yellow perch, is one of my favorite candidates for baking because it’s such an easy way to prepare fish. Since the perch is lean, I brush it with a light coating of flavored oil to keep it from drying out.

The following recipe calls for a zesty spread of garlic, oregano and lemon on the fish before baking. The dish is good if you stop at that point.

Add easy herbed potatoes as a side dish, along with a warmed tomato, olive and caper relish, and you have a fast and delicious cold-weather feast.

Herbed potatoes

8 fingerling potatoes

Salt

4 teaspoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Wash potatoes and place in medium saucepan. Add ½ teaspoon salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil.

Cook for 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain well. Return potatoes to saucepan and heat over low heat for 1 minute to dry potatoes.

Add butter, rosemary, pepper and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, over low heat 1 minute, or until butter melts. Serves 2.

Baked perch with hot tomato relish

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

Grated zest of 1 small lemon

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

12 ounces lake perch fillets

Hot tomato relish (recipe follows)

Heat olive oil in small heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat. Add garlic, lemon zest, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the oil is aromatic.

Discard garlic. Spread flavored oil over perch.

Place in shallow baking dish and bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until fish is firm, white and cooked at the center. While fish is baking, prepare hot tomato relish. Serve relish alongside fish. Makes 2 servings.

HOT TOMATO RELISH

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cherry or grape tomatoes

1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note)

1 tablespoon capers

2 tablespoons chopped pitted Nicoise or Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon dry white wine or water

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salt

Heat oil in small heavy-bottomed skillet. Add onion and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until pulpy.

Stir in cayenne pepper, capers and olives. Cook for 30 seconds. Add white wine or water and scrape up any bits in skillet.

Cook 30 seconds to evaporate wine. Stir in pepper and season with salt to taste.

Note: Cayenne pepper is very hot. You can adjust the amount to your preference.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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