Fish Fillets Baked 
in Garlic-Parsley Sauce

(“Filetto al Forno con Aglio e Prezzemolo”)
(“Pisci ‘Nfurnatu”)


 


Joe’s of Avenue U, the Focacceria Palemitana in Brooklyn was a real fast food restaurant, long before McDonald’s was born. 
Our menu was simple, our food made express in front of the customers, the prices were moderate and everything was fresh and delightful.
Our menu consisted of our famous Sicilian specialties: rice balls, pani e panelle (a roll with chick pea fritters), vastedda (a roll stuffed with spleen, ricotta and cheese), tripe, and eggplant with tomato sauce, cheese and basil. Our business flourished being patronized not only by the Sicilians and Italian- Americans living in the neighborhood but word got out and over time we attracted people from the Tri-State Area because our food was so good.
As business increased, we enlarged our eatery and expanded our menu by adding some meat and fish dishes.
The meat dishes were moving well, however the fish which we prepared fried, in soup or baked, were selling very slowly. Only the fish salad, made with a combination of boneless seafood was accepted and sold well.
The fish that we cooked whole, as we were accustomed to in Sicily, had good taste and the few dishes we sold, received compliments and approval. 
One day we purchased some large size groupers and because we could not give the whole fish as a portion, we decided to make fillets. That day we sold all the fish we had prepared. 
We then began cooking the majority of fish as fillets and seldom as steaks, with much more success. 
When buying fish fillets or steaks make sure they have a pleasant smell, not too fishy, appear moist and that the flesh is firm to your touch.
With the simple sauce that will follow, we baked cod fish, baccala’, grouper, stripe bass, mackerel, red snapper and any other fish that we could fillet.
Cooking the fillets in this very delicate sauce made with garlic, herbs, spices and olive oil, will enhance and not overwhelm the taste and flavor of the fish you will be preparing.

 

Serves 4 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb. fish fillets, wash, pat dry and cut into 4 or 8 pieces
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of sliced garlic
  • ¼ cup of Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • pinch of hot red pepper flakes (Optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup water
  • Lemons and parsley for garnish

 

Preparation
In a small skillet combine onions and 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Put aside.
In a 1¼ quart saucepan, over a medium heat, cook garlic with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil until the garlic is golden. Remove from heat, add a pinch of red pepper, combine water and parsley and carefully add it to the sautéed garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes and put aside.

In a baking pan spread sautéed onions and lay fish over it., skin side down. 
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spoon the parsley-garlic sauce on top. To give extra zest, cover fillets with thin slices of lemon.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. 
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with sliced lemon and parsley.

 

Variations

  1. You can sprinkle white wine on the fish before baking for an extra sweet and pleasing scent.
  1. If cooking fish rich with oil, bluefish, mackerel or tuna for example, after you spoon the parsley-garlic sauce over the fillets, pour ¼  cup of lemon juice and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

  1. To create a different flavor, replace the sautéed onions with any other vegetables like celery, scallions, fennel fronds or you can use them in combination.