Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Baked Sole with Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pesto

I wanted to use the frozen sole, but was trying to think of something different to do with it. I had fresh basil, a few pinenuts and some sundried tomatoes, so I decided to make sundried tomato pesto. I added in fresh spinach and parsley and used some of the oil from the sundried tomatoes, instead of just olive oil. This added a nice kick to the pesto, which offset the mild flavoured fish.

My first thought was to spread the pesto onto the sole and roll the fillets up, but then I had this idea...I spread it onto one fillet and topped it with a second, before baking them.

Heat the oven to 350F and start by making the pesto.

In a food processor, combine:

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped or sliced
1 tablespoon pinenuts

Process until you have a chunky paste. Then add:

2 tablespoons of sundried tomato oil
4 - 6 tablespoons of olive oil

Process until you have a slightly chunky pesto. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Lay half of the sole fillets in an ovenproof dish. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and a bit of lemon juice.

Spread some of the pesto over each fillet.

Lay another sole fillet on top of the pesto.

Lightly season this with salt and pepper, and a bit of lemon juice.

Place the dish into the oven and bake until the fish is cooked; this took about 8 - 10 minutes.

I served the fish with some boiled new potatoes and sauteed snow peas. Drizzle the pan juices over the fish.

  • The amount of oil you add to the pesto depends on how thick you want it. I left mine chunkier than I normally would when making Basil Pesto. 
  • If you have sundried tomatoes that are not packed in oil, but are re-hydrated in hot water, use only olive oil.
  • As I mentioned, the pesto can be spread onto each fillet, which can then be rolled up and baked. Other vegetables can be added before rolling the fish...asparagus, thinly sliced zucchini, fresh green beans.
  • If you have a thicker fish such as cod, halibut or salmon, just spread the pesto over the top before baking. It can also be served on the side as a sauce if you are grilling the fish.
  • Extra pesto can be added to chicken salad for sandwhiches or wraps, which is what my husband did for his lunch today. It can also be tossed with hot pasta...add some cooked chicken or vegetables and sprinkle with grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.
  • The pesto will keep for 3 days in the fridge; it can also be frozen in ice cube trays and then stored in re-sealable bags for another time.
  • Add the pesto to cream sauce or bechamel when making lasagne.
  • Toss potatoes with the pesto before roasting.
  • Don't limit yourself to fish...use the pesto with chicken. Stuff it under the skin of a whole chicken before roasting; spread it onto, or stuff it into, chicken breasts; use it as a marinade for chicken kebabs.
  • The choice of only basil, or basil and spinach is up to you. I like to add spinach as it's another way to get that extra bit of vegetable into us! Any other herbs can be used as well...cilantro, oregano or arugula.
  • By sandwiching the sole fillets together I created a thicker piece of fish that took longer to bake. I find this is a good thing to do as it is very easy to overcook the thin fillets.
  • Other vegetables can be added to the layers of pesto...try grilled zucchini or asparagus.
  • If you have fresh fish that you want to freeze, sandwiching it with the pesto is quick and easy to do before putting it in the freezer. You then have an easy meal ready to go.

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