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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Roasted White Fish and Leeks...(and chicken!?!?)

 I had to use some brain cells to make this recipe.

 I didn't use all of them,but on account the budget's a little tighter (since taking on a house note),I had to use (as my husband would call them) some mad ninja skills to get the dish made and on the table.I am tad bit more clever in the kitchen and now have two dishes to serve in the future instead of just one!
(I believe folks might call that BOGO...I don't know really.)

   This past week was a pretty busy one around our house and I knew a real meal was to come on Thursday. Real food on a real plate,warm-inviting-tasty real food...after a busy week I couldn't wait.The only problem,a wee one at that : My sweet,social husband had a friend coming to dinner on Thursday night and well I only had two pieces of fish to use in this recipe! Oh crap,really what's a girl to do? Let's discuss the options for just a minute:
Option #1- Find another recipe,using some other protein that I was sure I had frozen out in the deep freeze. Completely start over.
*** why this wouldn't work:I had 90% of the ingredients list already,just had to get a few things at the grocery.***
Option #2-We (my husband and I ) are folks that like to eat and even better we lurve leftovers even more than we like to eat.
***why this wouldn't work: Heck no was I going to not just make enough of the recipe,but even worse half of the recipe.***
***figure this one out soon sister***
Option # 3- I knew good and well I had other forms of protein in our deep freeze that would go with this same flavor profile and dangit I was going to make this work.
***DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER*** (I know I've had you on the edge of your seat this whole time. Fine I'll just tell you,ok ok ok.)
    The thought came to me and here goes it : Chicken. (God bless the yard bird.)
Boneless,skinless chicken breasts. Now truth be told I haven't used a whole lot of boneless/skinless chicken breasts lately,mainly because I've come to appreciate cooking chicken on the bone,the flavor is so rich,but because of that preference I had one little bitty ol' pack of chicken in the freezer.Thank goodness.Now on to my moment in the sun, the kitchen.
 I decided that I would use the fish and the chicken.Follow the same directions in the recipe to the best of my ability and still respecting the ingredients,make this one fantastic dinner.I knew it could be done.(No this was not the recipe Olympics,but a challenge nonetheless.)The recipe calls to marinate the fish in a herb filled,olive oil,citrus marinade. I thought (and after a quick internet search) that you really weren't supposed to marinate raw chicken for long periods of time with citrus,raw citrus especially. The acid in the juices cooks the chicken sort of and well that was my only hurdle in this whole meal.Ok den,what to do:
 I decided to marinate the chicken in everything but lemon and really infuse the chicken with the herbs,olive oil,salt and pepper.And then when it came time to bake the chicken,bake that chicken on a bed of lemon slices and lay some slices on top,just kicks. There we have it folks,all the flavors in the marinade incorporated in,no not at the same time but all would be present in the final dish. Hurdle jumped,now onto the rest of the recipe.
Confession time: I had never had leeks before this past Thursday night. I did know that they were a part of the onion family,so the oniony flavor was going to be a part of this dish.The fantastic Ina Garten had also taught me, on her show Barefoot Contessa, that you must always rinse out your sliced leeks. They have a little dirt still hanging out in all those layers.I rinsed off the leeks,then began to slice them and Ina's words rang true as wet dirt was on the cutting board.Off to the bowl of cool water for you! 
(The real confession is I'm not a huge fan of leeks now.I will always use them when I make this recipe because the recipe calls for them.It's a texture thing really,to each their own right. *insert sheepish grin here* thanks.)
As the leeks drained,I prepared the marinade for the fish and got the two blessed pieces of mahi mahi marinating for a bit.
At this point I was pretty thrilled I chose chicken to finish out the recipe. And really slap some bacon over all that marinated goodness,it was gonna be all good either way. Bacon makes everything better.
(Oh and I lined the preheated pans,very carefully with foil. It just made clean-up a little easier.)
  I tell you what that was some fine eatin' ! All of those flavors sang together.
My stars this chicken tasted so good,I mean really good. Hooray for ingenuity and chance! (let's be honest here) Oh yes and the marinade is cooked with the fish/chicken as the sauce and that was the best sauce too!(Sop-it-up kind of good.) It was so fresh,the lemon brightened the bacon. (Who knew bacon could be brightened,but it totally happened!) The herbs and olive oil provided a nice platform for the bacon/lemon and it really was a real-food-on-a-real-plate,warm-inviting-tasty dinner that was enjoyed by all that night.

Roasted White Fish and Leeks
adapted from Jamie At Home
written by the fantastic Jamie Oliver
page 334
serves 4
16 baby leeks,I used two adult size leeks
4 7-ounce fillets of white fish
 -off the bone,scaled,skin on
1 large lemon,but into 8 thin wedges
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
8 strips of bacon
for the marinade:
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme,rosemary 
a couple of bay leaves,I used two dried bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the baking pan in the oven to warm it up.
2.**For the fish-to make the marinade,bash up the thyme,rosemary and bay leaves with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle or the back of a wooden spoon works well too,until the salt turns green. Pour in two glugs of olive oil and a pinch of pepper and the lemon juice and give it a stir.
**For the chicken: Marinate the b/s chicken breasts in a glass baking dish with the rosemary,thyme,salt,pepper and olive oil for at least 8 hours up to overnight.
3.Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and parboil the leeks for about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and them steam dry.
4. Put the fish,lemon,rosemary sprigs and leeks into a bowl. Pour the marinade and toss to cover everything in the marinade flavors. Place the fish,skin side down,into the preheated pan. Pour the marinade contents over and around the fish. Place two strips of bacon on each piece of fish.
**For the chicken,place the contents,chicken and all in another preheated pan and place lemon slices and leeks on and around the chicken. Place two strips of bacon on each piece of chicken.
5. Baking time-Put the chicken in the oven about 15 minutes before you put the fish in,it gets the chicken a head start and hopefully they are done in the same amount of time. Make sure your cooked chicken reaches 170 degrees,then it's done.
Bake the fish around 15 minutes until the fish is just cooked and the bacon is crisp.If the leeks could use more time take out the fish,place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Roast the leeks a little longer until they get a little more color.
6. Pile the fish/chicken onto a serving platter and pour the rest of the pan's contents all over the chicken/fish. Any way you make it,this is so delicious,Enjoy!


  1. Way to get creative and resourceful with the chicken. The ingredients sound perfect with fish or chicken. Great pick! ;-)

  2. What a great idea! Both dishes look delicious and that was a real bit of ingenuity! I bet your guest was thrilled with such a delicious dinner.

  3. Mmm, bacon! Great flavours going on, I'm so glad it worked out!

  4. Glad it all worked out! And it looks like it worked out very well. Saving this recipe.

  5. I love the way you brought the two proteins together to make one tasty meal for everyone! I can see how all the ingredients would go together so well, especially the bacon - yum!