Pargo al horno a la viszcaina (baked whole snapper basque)

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
4 pounds Snapper, cleaned and prepared for baking, with head and tail left on (or substitute sea bass, striped bass, or pike)
\N \N Salt; to taste
\N \N Black pepper to taste
\N \N Juice of 2 limes
3 slices Lemon
¼ cup Spanish olive oil
5 \N Cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Spanish olive oil
1 small Onion, finely chopped
½ small Green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups Peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh, ripe tomatoes, or drained and chopped canned whole tomatoes
½ cup Chopped, drained pimiento stuffed green olives
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Dried oregano
½ cup Dry white wine or dry sherry
\N \N Black pepper to taste or dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Spanish olive oil
4 mediums All-purpose potatoes, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds
\N \N Salt
\N \N Black pepper
¼ cup Parsley for garnish, chopped



Rinse the fish in cold water, dry it well inside and out with paper towels, and place it in a large, shallow, nonreactive platter that fits it comfortably. Sprinkle it inside and out with salt, pepper, and lime juice.

With a sharp knife, make 3 incisions, going right down to the bone, and insert a slice of lemon into each incision. Whisk together the oil and garlic and pour over the fish, rubbing it into the skin. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.

For the sofrito, heat the oil until fragrant in a skillet over low heat, then cook the onion and bell pepper, stirring, until transparent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, salt, oregano, and wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with pepper and set the tomato sauce aside. Just before serving, place the sauce over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until heated through.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set the rack in the upper middle position. Rub the bottom of a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil, arrange the potato slices evenly on the baking sheet, forming a square, and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish on top of the potatoes and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over it. Wrap the tail in aluminum foil and bake until the fish flakes easily, 45 minutes.

When the fish is done, carefully slide it onto a large, heated platter, remove the foil from the tail, and arrange the potatoes around the head and tail. Spoon the tomato sauce along the sides, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve. Makes 4 servings


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