It was Friday and I was running out of food.... Well it would be an exaggeration to say running out of food.... My garden is loaded with salad stuff, I had the few last leaves of cabbage growing and the new crop of Broad Beans was ready for it's first picking..... but....
So, it was Friday and I was running out of food and I had to prepare lunch. The solution in my mind was take a look at what I actually had and then create something...which would hopefully be tasty.
There were the last couple of pieces of coley, which I quite like. I had Courgettes (zucchini), lots, I found a fennel in the vegetable rack and as I dug into the freezer, I found the last few tomatoes from last year, 3 large Marmande, a tomato I find very tasty and which freezes and keeps well.
I could create a fish in a kind of Provencal sauce.
Provence is olive country so a good tablespoon of olive oil was the first thing in the pan, quickly followed by a generous dose of "Herbes de Provence"....(what else??)
Next I peeled and sliced 4 cloves of garlic and chopped a medium onion, throwing them in the pan as I went.
The pan had now warmed sufficiently to turn down to a low heat.
I chopped the onion and tomatoes and added those. I really needed more tomatoes but I didn't have any so I opened a tin of Italian plum tomatoes and chopped them before adding them, along with all the liquid
I chopped half the fennel and added that.
When I found the tomatoes, I also found a small aubergine (egg plant) from last year...although, I didn't actually grow aubergine last year!!! so that got chopped and added
A few dates, pitted and chopped and the sauce was beginning to come together although it lacked something... I added a teaspoon of sea salt and a generous cupful of a sweet white wine I have.
The wine is a home made wine made by a local farmer.... It is made in the same way that Monbazillac is made. Sadly, he lives a few kilometres outside the Monbazillac Vignoble limits and as he isn't a registered wine producer it remains as a home made wine which he can't sell. This particular bottle was 25 years old and beautifully mellow and smooth.
The fennel was added next and then the sauce left to simmer gently until the liquid had reduced quite a bit.
In the meantime, I lay the fish fillets in the bottom of an ovenproof dish and scattered a good handful of peeled prawns (shrimp) over them.
Once the sauce was ready I covered the fish with it and then baked in a medium oven for about 20 minutes (180C).
I started off calling this a "kind of Provencal sauce" but I'm not sure anyone from Provence would give it a seal of approval....