THE WASHINGTON POST – The idea for this dish came to me over the summer during one of those moments of pure bliss that seems suspended in time. I was with my husband in Montauk, Long Island, on the deck at the Inlet Seafood Restaurant, with a stunning view of the harbour.
When our starter of baked clams oreganata arrived, it happened. With one bite, all the pleasures converged – the company, the atmosphere, and those garlicky, herbed bread crumbs baked to a deep brown on top of briny seafood, brightened with freshly squeezed lemon. All I could think in the moment was how happy I’d be to make a whole meal of them, so with this recipe I did just that.
Here, that swoon-worthy oreganata topping graduates from appetiser to main course as the highlight of a quick sheet-pan dinner. The breadcrumb mixture starts with panko – whole wheat or regular, whichever you prefer – to ensure extra crispiness. The bread crumbs are seasoned in the classic oreganata style, with oregano, parsley, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, a pinch of crushed red pepper and enough olive oil to give them the texture of wet sand. The topping is piled generously on top of cod fillets (or any white fish fillet) and also sprinkled on halved tomatoes which are then roasted together on a sheet pan. The tomatoes get a 15-minute head start on the fish, and the whole thing is done in about half an hour.
Finished with a squeeze of lemon, the gloriously crispy, aromatic topping does exactly what I had hoped it would – turn a simple, healthful fish dinner, into one that is completely, crave-ably joy-inducing.
COD AND TOMATO OREGANATA
Active time: 10 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes
Here, crispy, herb-and-garlic-seasoned breadcrumb topping typically used for baked clams graduates from appetizer to main course as the highlight of a quick sheet pan dinner. In this recipe, it is piled onto cod fillets (or any white fish fillet) and halved tomatoes, which are roasted until the topping is gloriously browned and fragrant, the fish is flaky, and the tomatoes have warmed and softened. The result is a healthful fish dinner with all the sumptuousness of that crowd-pleasing starter.
Three tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking sheet
One cup whole-wheat or regular panko
Two tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
One large clove garlic, minced or finely grated
One tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
One teaspoon dried oregano
Half teaspoon kosher salt
One pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Four medium tomatoes, halved across
Four fillets of cod, scrod or sole
Lemon wedges, for serving
Position a baking rack in the middle and another one in the top third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet with a little oil and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the panko, the three tablespoons of oil, the parsley, garlic, Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt and pepper flakes.
Add the tomatoes to the greased baking sheet, cut side up. (If some of the tomato halves have bottoms that cause the tomatoes to roll over, trim a little off the bottom to get a flat edge to stabilise them.) Top each tomato half with about one tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture. Roast (middle rack) for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes soften a bit.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the fish on the sheet pan next to the tomatoes. Distribute the remaining breadcrumb mixture on top of the fish, then return the baking sheet to the oven and roast (top rack) for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is no longer translucent. If desired, place the baking sheet under the broiler for one to two minutes to brown the breadcrumb mixture further.
Divide the fish and the tomatoes among the plates and serve with lemon wedges.
Calories: 336; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 74mg; Sodium: 284mg; Carbohydrates: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 35g.