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The Barcelona Cookbook
by Sasa Mahr-batuz & Andy Pforzheimer
We believe food should be simple, with the ingredients showcased at their natural best. We put more emphasis on the best execution of a straightforward concept than on intricate or multilevel flavors and presentation. This view of food makes an interesting tapa but a simple and unadorned main course.
This halibut is a dish with no pretension; use the best fish you can find and pair it with a great, classic, brightly colored Puttanesca sauce. No awards for creativity here, but people lick their plates clean.
Serves 4


    • Four 6- to 7-ounce fillets of halibut
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 5 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1½ cups sliced red onion (1 to 2 onions)
    • 3 teaspoon chopped garlic
    • 1/4 cup pitted Nicoise olives
    • 2 teaspoons drained capers
    • 3/4 cup dry white wine
    • One 14-ounce cam Italian plum tomatoes
    • 1 pound baby spinach leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Season the halibut on both sides with salt and pepper.

3. In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. When hot, cook the fish fillets for about 3 minutes on each side, or until opaque. Put the pan in the oven and cook until fish is just barely done.

4. Meanwhile, in another large saute pan, heat 2 table- spoons of the remaining olive oil over high heat and cook the onion and 2 teaspoons of the garlic for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the onions are translucent but neither they nor the garlic browns. Add the olives and capers and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes longer, or until heated through.

5. Add the wine and tomatoes with about half of their juice. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Taste for seasoning. As the tomatoes cook, press on them with the back of a large spoon to ex- tract more juices.

6. Meanwhile, rinse the spinach leaves with cool water and shake a little, but let a little water cling to the leaves.

7. Using a broad spatula, lift the fish from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the remaining teaspoon of garlic, and the spinach leaves. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the spinach wilts and is heated through. It should still have some body and not be completely wilted. Season to taste with salt if needed.

8. Spoon about 1¼ cups of the Puttanesca sauce onto each of 4 serving plates. Divide the spinach among the plates on top of the sauce and then add a fish fillet. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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