Easy Poached Fish Recipe – in Tomato Basil Sauce
When I was a kid, my mom used to make something similar to this Easy Poached Fish recipe all the time. I can’t say that I was all that fond of it (kids and fish, you know) but still, I remember replicating it on quite a few occasions later in my adult life.
When she made her fish dish, though, my mom would invariably use High Liner fish fillets, the kind that come in a big block and that you basically have no choice but to throw directly into a pan full of simmering liquid. I don’t think I’ve ever seen those prepared any other way (can you even thaw them?) My mom, she would use a can of diced tomatoes for her source of liquid, and then she would add a handful of instant rice to it as the fish was simmering.
I more or less took my memories of her recipe and kicked it up a notch… The one thing that I appreciate the most about this fish dish, apart from the fact that it’s absolutely delicious, is that it’s incredibly easy to make and that it uses fish in its frozen form. No need to thaw it first!
It makes it a perfect option for those nights when you forgot to take meat out of the freezer…
Now, while I have nothing against the big blocks of fish fillets, I strongly suggest that you use individually frozen fillets instead, something like this right here. (No, I haven’t been sponsored by High Liner, in case you’re wondering. They just happen to be products that I use regularly and love.)
You can go with basically any kind of white fish that you like, but thick, firm fillets will definitely yield the best results. Something like cod, halibut, catfish or my personal favorite, if you can get your hands on it: mahi-mahi!
Unfortunately, I had no such luck this time: there was no mahi mahi in the counter when I went grocery shopping, so I had to settle for cod.
And while canned diced tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredient in the world and can be a true life saver sometimes, nothing quite beats the flavor and texture of fresh cherry tomatoes in a delicate dish such as this one.
You won’t need that much either: 2 cups will amply suffice. And you don’t have to use the multicolored ones if you can’t get your hands on them, although they will make your dish look particularly pretty. But really, any kind of grape or cherry tomatoes will do.
Simply slice them in half and place them in a saute pan set over medium heat; throw in the sliced garlic, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to turn soft and start to blister.
At that point, add the chicken stock and dry white wine if using… feel free to sub an extra 1/4 cup of chicken stock if you want to keep your dish squeaky clean or completely booze free.
The wine does, however, confer a very agreeable depth to the flavor of the dish.
And hum, not that I mean to brag or anything, but did you happen to notice my beautifully gelified chicken stock? YUM! That stuff is so good, I could almost eat it by the spoonful; it’s like chicken Jell’o!
But I digress… back to our poached fish.
Throw in your frozen fish fillets and sprinkle them with a handful of chopped basil.
Note that you could also use fresh fish fillets, if you wanted to, or if that’s all you had on hand. Don’t go freezing your fresh fish just so you can make this recipe. Simply take into account the fact that fresh fish will cook much quicker than frozen, so you might want to let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes before to throw that fish in… 5 to 10 minutes total cooking time for the fresh fish will be more than enough!
Finally, put the lid on and walk away. Your dish now needs to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the fish is fully cooked. You’ll know that the fish is cooked when you poke it with a fork or sharp knife and it easily pierces through the flesh.
Oh, and now would be a good time to cook some rice, quinoa or couscous, if you wanted to serve some of that with your fish. Or make a light salad, steam some broccoli, asparagus or green beans, or even whip up a batch of cauli-rice, why not? The one I made to go with this Mongolian Beef was pretty darn good and would go really well with this Poached Fish recipe. Just maybe hold the sesame oil, if you’re gonna go with that option…
As soon as the fish is cooked all the way, you dish is ready to be served.
Just sprinkle it with an additional handful of chopped basil and call the fam: dinner is ready!
Serve your fish with the side dish of your choice. Whatever you do, though, make sure to top it with a few generous spoonfuls of the tomato basil sauce.
And there you have it: a fabulous dinner, from freezer to table, ready in under 30 minutes!
Eat now, you can thank me later…
Easy Poached Fish in Tomato Basil Sauce
- 4 - 6oz frozen white fish fillets of your choice*
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup light chicken stock
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (or use more chicken stock)
- 1/2 tsp salt, I use Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
- Place the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper in a saute pan set over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to turn soft and start to blister.
- Add the chicken stock, white wine (if using), frozen fish fillets and chopped basil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the fish is fully cooked.
- Sprinkle with an additional handful of chopped basil and serve over a bed of rice, couscous or quinoa, if desired.