Fresh Fish Recipes to Enjoy this Time of the Year

Fresh sardines. Photo by stu_spivack, via Wikimedia Commons.

Fish are often a healthier protein option for most people and are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Eating fish the recommended two to three times a week can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. As noted on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, “Fish and shellfish provide protein, are low in saturated fat, are rich in many micronutrients, and provide certain omega-3 fatty acids that the body cannot make and are important for normal growth and development.”
The following recipes are relatively easy to prepare. Serve them with a salad or your favorite side dishes.

Gavros Plaki

2 pounds fresh gavros or other small fish like sardines or marides
1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
4 large onions cut into slices
6 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine or water
2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 lemon, sliced into rounds

Wash and clean the gavro, gutting them and cutting off the heads. If you have time, remove the backbones. Rinse the fish off in cool water and set them aside to drain. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the onions lightly until just translucent, add the garlic and sauté lightly just until the fragrance is released. Reduce the heat to medium and add the parsley, salt and pepper, tomato paste, and white wine or water. Sauté 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. In a large baking dish or pan, line up the fish, alternating with the onion mixture and the slices of tomato and lemon. Pour any remaining sauce on top of the fish. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 1 hour until the sauce is completely reduced. Serve immediately.

Sardines with Oregano

2 pounds fresh sardines, gavros or marides
1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves sliced
2 tablespoons red white vinegar
1 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Wash and clean the sardines with cool water. If preferred, debone them. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat until it shimmers, add the sliced garlic and sauté lightly just to release the fragrance. Add the sardines, vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately warm or at room temperature.

Broiled Flounder Fillets

4-6 flounder fillets
Greek sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Greek extra virgin olive oil

Rinse the fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the fillets on the broiler pan. Add salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil and broil on high for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the fillets and the strength of your broiler. Do not leave the broiler unattended. Using a fish spatula, flip the fillets on the other side and continue broiling 5-10 minutes or until the edges of the fillets begin to brown and the fish flakes with a fork. Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a salad or the steamed vegetables of your choice.