The wonderful aroma and flavour of basil pesto adds a unique European twist to baked pike in this recipe, which works well with any white-fleshed fish. Not keen on basil? Try arugula or sun-dried tomato pesto instead.
4 boneless, skinless pike fillets (6 to 8 ounces each), cut in 2-inch strips across the grain
Place basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add olive oil in a slow drizzle while the machine is running. Season with salt and black pepper. Add cheese and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
Pasta & Pike
Toss diced tomatoes in oil and vinegar. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Season tomatoes with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Reserve 1/4 cup of pesto to spread on cooked fillets; thin remaining pesto with 1/2 to 1 cup of water used to cook ziti pasta. Toss pasta in thinned pesto. Season fish strips with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in oven until flesh is just cooked through.
Remove fish from oven and spread 1/2 to 1 tsp pesto on each strip. Place fish on a bed of ziti pasta, top with diced tomatoes and serve with crusty Italian bread.
There are several toppings that can enhance the flavour of any fish after it’s been baked. While this recipe features basil pesto, other pestos, such as arugula or sun-dried tomato, also work nicely with fish. As well, salsas made from tomatoes or fresh fruit can add a pleasant acidity to fish. For fish with a strong flavour, use toppings such as olive tapenade or gremolata, which also have a bolder taste.
For the Glass
Following through on the Italian theme, this unique fish dish goes great with a nice glass of Chianti or a refreshing frosty mug of Birra Moretti.