Psari Plaki (Baked Fish)

Seafood is an important part of the Mediterranean diet, and luckily for Greece the seafood is plentiful. With so many islands and close mainland coastal waters, seafood is easily accessible for Greeks to either bake, fry, grill, or boil. The varieties of fish in any fish market is incredible. Everyone has a preference, and those different types of seafood often require different types of preparation. Sardines are best when fried, octopus tastes great off the grill, and a boiled fish soup always hits the spot. When I have cod, or any other firm white fish, I turn to baking my favorite fish dish—psari plaki.

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Before taking a further bite out of this recipe, let’s break down the name of the dish. Psari simply means fish, while plaki refers to a dish baked in the oven with olive oil and vegetables. Together, psari plaki is about as healthy as it gets when it comes to Greek cuisine. Onions, garlic, leeks, and celery are sliced and sautéed, then diced tomatoes are added to round out the flavors, creating a tasty sauce. I like to use plenty of vegetables to my base in order to make for more toppings to eat later. Once the vegetables are cooked, they’re arranged on top of psari and sent to the oven to bake. The result is a moist psari plaki full of mouthwatering vegetables with every bite.

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Psari Plaki (Baked Fish)
Recipe type: Vegetarian/Main Course
Serves: 3-4
 
Psari plaki is a delicious baked fish dish.
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs cod (or any other white fish like halibut or tilapia)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 leeks, cut crosswise
  • 1 cup of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped*
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by pouring the juice of one lemon over the cod. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano. Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or sauce pan. Sauté the onions, garlic, leeks, and celery (plus some of the celery leaves) until tender.
  4. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes. Stir in the parsley. Season generously with oregano, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Add the cod in a ceramic baking dish. Cover the cod with the tomato mixture and sprinkle with oregano. Finish with thin slices of lemon on top.
  6. Bake until fish becomes flakey, about 40 minutes. Garnish with the remaining parsley if desired.
Notes
*optional: many cooks substitute dill for the fresh parsley or combine the two

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