Dog days fish

A few days in August are known as the dog days because the dog star Sirius appears in the heavens. Or because our neighbour's friend arrives for a visit with her enthusiastic and very vocal Bouvier by the name of Luke. One or the other.

My husband is working flat out on renovations in our basement, and I am helping my mother prepare for a move to a much smaller flat. Everyone is a bit too hot and a bit too stressed.

Tonight, in an effort to reduce stress levels, I made one of my easy-peasy, never-fail recipes. The original version came from "The Ultimate Book of Fish and Shellfish" by Kate Whiteman. I am now at the point, however, where I just glance at the recipe, think "Oh, yes," and carry on. I never follow the rules exactly.

The recipe calls for fresh fish. I use frozen.

The recipe calls for fresh parsley. I consider it optional.

The recipe calls for sunflower oil. I use any oil that's handy.

The recipe calls for "wholemeal breadcrumbs." I throw stale baguette into the grinder and use that.


The recipe calls for fresh tomatoes. At this time of year, fresh local Ontario tomatoes are wonderful and we usually have a basketful on the counter.

All in all, a match made in heaven.The fish has the nice crunchiness of bread-crumbed fish without the wallpaper-paste starchiness of traditional batter.

So here we go.


5 or 6 medium-sized pieces of frozen cod. Or haddock. Or some other white fish.

2 or 3 fresh tomatoes.

1 or 2 lemons, from which you have extracted the zest (grated rind) and the juice.

Breadcrumbs created from whatever has outlived its best-before date in your fridge.

Oil. Your choice.

Heat the oven to 200oC or 400oF. Check to make sure you have some white wine. Put a little oil in the bottom of a baking dish and arrange the fish in a single layer. Slice the tomatoes and layer them on top. Mix up the lemon zest/rind, lemon juice, a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs, and a teaspoon or so of oil. Spread it over the tomatoes. Put the lot into the oven for 20 or so minutes. Check to see if it is cooked through. Serve with salad or reheated frozen veggies or whatever else causes the minimum amount of stress. Pour a glass of white wine for the chef and other eaters. Relax.

As usual, I never think of food photography in time to add it to the blog. So for decoration, I have a photograph that I took of an heirloom tomato that I tasted in Charlottesville, Virginia, which had been grown in the gardens of Monticello, the house once owned and occupied by Thomas Jefferson. This is the kind of tomato that ruins you for all other tomatoes, because it has about 10 times the taste of supermarket tomatoes. It was probably the best thing I tasted in the whole time I spent in Virginia.

 Now if I had one of those and a fresh fish, just imagine what the recipe would taste like!


  1. So, this will be my next recipe; I've been looking for a fish dish and this seems delightful. By the way, that tomato looks luscious.

  2. This looks wonderful - an ideal dinner for a long hot day when you don't want to spend hours fussing in the kitchen. The weather seems to have taken a turn for the autumnal here, but I'll still try it anyway.