Pesto is traditionally linked to basil; but being thoroughly modern, we can take a few liberties. In this dish, the sunbelt tastes of the pesto come from fresh coriander, lime juice and hot chilies. It’s a concoction perfected by one of my own food gurus, Amnon Medad — absolutely the best home cook known to me. He uses it on pizza, with grilled vegetables, with pasta and also as here, with fish. It’ll open a new dimension to your notions of filet of sole, adding some zest to the tired, bland taste that so often characterizes “fresh” sole — which, as often as not, means “freshly defrosted” — on this side of the Atlantic.
- 1 cup (250 mL) packed roughly chopped coriander
- ½ cup (125 mL) grated strong Italian cheese, such as Asiago, Crotonese or aged Provolone (about 2 oz [50 g])
- ¼ cup (50 mL) pine nuts
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) lime juice
- 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 25 mL) minced fresh hot chilies or ¼ to ½ tsp (1 to 2 mL) cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
- 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup (50 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil
- 1 lb (500 g) filet of sole (about 4 fillets)
- 8 thin strips red bell pepper
- Steamed rice as an accompaniment
- Baking sheet
Preheat oven to 425° F (220 °C)
1. Make the pesto: In a food processor combine coriander, cheese, pine nuts, lime juice, chilies, salt and pepper; process until finely chopped. With machine running, add ¼ cup (50 mL) olive oil through the feed tube; continue to process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl once. You should have about 1 cup (250 mL) of a bright green, dense paste. Divide in half. Store one half for another use, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Set other half aside.
2. Brush the underneath (darker side) of the fillets with a little oil. Lay on baking sheet, oiled side down. Spread about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the pesto on each filet covering the entire surface. Bake for 6 minutes, without turning. Remove from oven and divide fillets between 4 warmed plates. Heap 1 tbsp (15 mL) pesto on the middle of each fillet. Decorate with 2 red pepper strips making an “x” on each fillet. Serve immediately, accompanied by rice and, if desired, a vegetable of your choice.