My husband and his friends usually get to go fishing twice a year, once early in the summer and once in Mid-September. They usually tag along on one of the day boats that set out from Long Island’s Orient Point. I must admit I usually nag at the fact that he gets to spend a whole day with his buddies—I don’t think I’ve gotten to spend more than a couple of hours (that’s total over the last four years) alone with friends since I had these two little beings currently running laps around my kitchen wearing a shoe on each hand. Yes, I said a shoe … on each hand.
Luckily, my husband never comes back empty handed. Actually, there’s usually a freezer full of Porgies for him to show off afterwards. And now that my kids love to eat fish, it’s great that he can bring home a fresh catch for them. My daughter and son, four and two years old, respectively, are not picky eaters. Thank goodness. They’ll eat pretty much anything I put in front of them and that’s a huge relief to me. I’ll usually grill or broil the fish for them, or every once in a while I will prepare it in traditional Greek fashion making what’s known as Plaki.
Plaki is basically whole fish baked with vegetables. Different areas of Greece have different recipes; the one I stand by is pretty basic and rather simple as all the vegetables and herbs just need to be sliced, diced and tossed around the fish in one baking dish. The simplicity of the dish really benefits from the freshest ingredients possible. I used fresh tomatoes we found at a Long Island farm this weekend, lots of fresh parsley, onion, potatoes, garlic, dried oregano that I’ve brought back with me from Greece and, of course, olive oil. As I began working on this post, I realized that Peter of Kalofagas featured Psari Plaki the other day as well, using his family’s recipe which boasts what he dubbed a “slurry” of olive oil, flour and paprika to add great flavor and thicken the sauce of the dish. I look forward to trying his version soon …
Serves 3 to 4
Whole fish (such as one large Snapper or Sea Bass, or three to four smaller Porgies), cleaned inside and out
Two large tomatoes, diced
One large onion, sliced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 large potatoes, sliced in rounds
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Layer the sliced potatoes, onions and tomatoes in a baking dish. Whisk together the olive oil, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and pour some over the layered vegetables. Season the fish with salt and pepper and place atop the vegetables. Pour the remaining oil mixture on top.
Place baking dish in center of oven and bake for about 40 minutes, adding a little water to the dish if necessary.