Recipe of the week: Seafood: Fish tapas with a Catalan twist

Joyce Goldstein, who owns San Francisco’s pioneering Square One restaurant, has been visiting Spain since 1960.

Joyce Goldstein has been visiting Spain since 1960. In her new cookbook, Tapas: Sensational Small Plates From Spain (Chronicle Books), the cookbook author and owner of San Francisco’s pioneering Square One restaurant recalls how the current revival in Spanish cuisine came to be.

In the 1970s, a group of chefs in San Sebastián, Spain, were inspired by nouvelle cuisine coming out of nearby France to reinterpret tapas in a lighter, more modern way. Their approach has since helped bring Spanish cuisine—and particularly its distinctive small dishes—into the culinary consciousness of diners everywhere.

Either hake or monkfish is traditionally used for this Catalan dish, but cod, sea bass, flounder, or another firm white fish can be substituted. This dish pairs well with a Spanish Chardonnay blend, or with a dry Amontillado sherry.

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Recipe of the week

Merluza en salsa de piñones

(Fish in Pine Nut Sauce)

½ cup pine nuts

4 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp finely minced garlic

1⁄4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Pinch saffron threads, warmed and crushed (optional)

1½ cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes

1 cup fish stock or dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ lbs firm white fish fillet, cut into 8 pieces

1 cup English peas, cooked until tender-crisp (optional)

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet and toast in oven, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes. Pour onto plate to cool. Transfer 1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts to nut grinder or small food processor and grind or pulse until finely ground.

In frying pan, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add paprika, garlic, ground pine nuts, bread crumbs, and saffron, if using, and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.

In large frying pan, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, add to pan, and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side. Pour sauce over fish, add peas, if using, and simmer until fish is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to serving dish or individual dishes, and garnish with remaining pine nuts and parsley. Serve at once. Serves 8.

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