Last week under the pressure of deadlines, I made my current favourite Deadline Dinner. Sad food choices make me feel sad, so even when I’m mega busy I want something nice to eat. Oven-baked fish with chorizo, courgette and carrots is good enough to power even the most strenuous of tasks. This was a rush job that ended up looking obscenely pretty fresh out of the oven. I didn’t even use my real camera, just my phone and
I couldn’t be bothered in the spirit of speediness I didn’t use Photoshop, I just VSCOcam-ed my pics.
I used a spiraliser to chop up my courgette, only because it’s quick and creates a nice noodly bed for the fish but you don’t have to use that. In fact the basic components of this dish can be whittled down to the following: white fish, something fatty/flavourful to lay on top, veg underneath to absorb the juices. I pre-roasted the carrots but you could also chuck in any manner of root veg while you’re doing the rest of the prep. This is the beauty of the dish, chop it all up and the oven does the rest.
In fact I once prepped this dish and went to the pub for a few drinks, it was so wonderful to then just stagger home and pop it in the oven. This was also the night that we drunkedly decided to burn a fire in the garden, chucking more and more dried out weeds and staring at the flames like it was some kind of pagan ritual. The fire brigade came, only to congratulate us on our fire safety. A little aside for you there.
Any firm white fish
Chorizo (or parma ham)
One lemon, sliced
One and a half courgettes
A red pepper
Start off by roasting the carrots, and if you want a carb with this put on some brown rice. Spiralise the courgette – I also chopped in some fridge-festering red pepper at this point – and when the carrots are almost soft chuck the spiral loops of courgette in. If you don’t have a spiraliser, you could use a vegetable peeler to get some fine ribbons, or grate it. You could also chop it but who has time for that? Then lay the fish, season it, drizzle a little bit of oil and lay the chorizo on top. I also put some lemon slices to stop the fish from drying out. Oven it for a bit, maybe 15 mins on a med heat? I once overcooked this and it was still nice, so don’t worry.
You could try all sorts of things, orange slices, a layer of aubergine, herbs would be lovely, some thyme and in fact you could substitute a thinly sliced chicken breast for the fish. Go wild, heat up your oven and get your shit done.
Isabelle O'Carroll: I’m a writer, content designer and consultant with 11+ years’ experience across fashion, food and drink and the arts.