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Fish in Almond Sauce

Source: Casual Cuisines of the World - Taverna
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Active Time:  35 Minutes
Total Time:  45 Minutes
  Serves 4
This simple taberna dish features the classic Catalan nut sauce known as picada. With its heady mixture of nuts, bread and garlic, picada is evidence of the Arabic influence in Spanish cooking. Merluza (hake) is traditionally used in this dish, but you may substitute cod, sea bass, flounder or other firm white fish.
For Almond Sauce:
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Pinch of saffron threads, crushed (optional)
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup fish stock or dry white wine
1 cup shelled peas, optional
For Fish:
4 firm white fish fillets, each about 5 oz (see note above)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley or mint
Fish in Almond Sauce Recipe at
FOR ALMOND SAUCE: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and place in the oven until toasted and fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Place 1/4 cup of the almonds aside to use for garnish. Using a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a nut grinder, finely grind the remaining almonds, being careful not to overgrind to a paste. Set the ground nuts aside.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the paprika, garlic, ground almonds, bread crumbs and the saffron, if using, and sauté for 3 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes and stock or wine and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5-8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

If using the peas, bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the peas and boil until barely tender, 3-6 minutes.

FOR FISH: Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Sprinkle the fillets on both sides with salt and pepper and place in a single layer in a baking dish. Spoon the sauce over the fish, add the peas, if using, and bake in the oven until the fish is opaque throughout, 10-12 minutes. Garnish with the reserved toasted almonds and the parsley or mint. Serve at once.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 4
Calories: 415
Fat. Total: 25g
Fiber: 3g
Carbohydrates, Total: 15g
Sodium: 302mg
% Cal. from Fat: 54%
Cholesterol: 85mg
Protein: 34g
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