Some fish steaks and fillets-especially the triangular fillets from large round fish-are so thick they almost qualify as roasts, which makes them too big to cook by direct heat. Fortunately, the same sear-and-roast technique that works so well on other animals is perfect for large pieces of fish, and it's faster. Provided you don't overcook, results are crisp on the outside and juicy inside. And as a bonus, you get a quick little sauce out of the deal.
The best tool for this job is an ovenproof skillet-you start on the stove and transfer the whole thing to the oven. And if you don't have herbs handy, just salt and pepper is fine.From How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition)
Roasted Thick Fish Fillets or Steaks
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on thickness
1/2 to 1 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs: parsley, basil, chervil, tarragon, rosemary, chives, marjoram, sage, or whatever you have on hand (use the smaller amount if you're using stronger herbs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
About 11/2 pounds large fish fillets (like monkfish, halibut, or tuna) or steaks of any size
1 cup chicken, fish, or vegetable, red or white wine, or water, plus a little more if needed
1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Mix the herbs with some salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes; add the olive oil. When it's good and hot, dredge the fish in the herb mixture. Brown for a couple of minutes on both sides (or all sides if the roast is triangular). Add the liquid to the pan and put it, uncovered, in the oven.
2. Roast until the fish is tender, 20 to 30 minutes, turning once or twice (1-inch-thick steaks of most other fish will take 5 or 10 minutes less). Regardless of the thickness, the fillet will still be firm and juicy when done but will have turned opaque inside; a thin-bladed knife will pass through it fairly easily.
3. Transfer the fish to a warm platter. If the pan juices are a little thin, reduce a bit; if they're too thick, add a little more stock or water and cook over medium heat for a minute or two. Serve the fish with the sauce spooned over.Mark Bittman's award-winning How to Cook Everything has helped countless home cooks discover the rewards of simple cooking. Now the ultimate cookbook has been revised and expanded (almost half the material is new), making it absolutely indispensable for anyone who cooks-or wants to. With Bittman's straightforward instructions and advice, you'll make crowd-pleasing food using fresh, natural ingredients; simple techniques; and basic equipment. Even better, you'll discover how to relax and enjoy yourself in the kitchen as you prepare delicious meals for every occasion.