Brandada Santorinis me Fava

Fish with Split Pea and Tomato Garlic Sauce from Santorini

THIS IS the Cypriot version of brandada, or brandade, the salt cod dish that is also native to Spain and the south of France. Salt cod is cheap and readily available all over Greece, and it can be easily found in the United States, but I have adapted the recipe so it can be prepared with either fresh or salted fish. The fish is briefly baked, covered with a garlicky sauce and topped with sliced tomatoes. The result is a tasty, hearty dish.

Serve with a green salad or with steamed vegetables and greens and plenty of fresh crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 4 firm white-fleshed fish fillets or steaks, such as snapper, grouper or monkfish (about 2 pounds total), rinsed and patted dry
  • About 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups Yellow Split Peas with Garlic, without the toppings (or see Note)
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2–3 tablespoons water or dry white wine
  • 1 medium tomato, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Preheat the broiler.

Brush the fish on both sides with oil and sprinkle with the oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Broil, turning once, for about 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and cook the tomato paste over medium heat, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until shiny. Stir in the split peas, sun-dried tomatoes and Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes. The mixture should have the consistency of cake batter; if it is too thick, dilute it with a few tablespoons of water or wine.

Brush four individual gratin dishes with oil. Place 1 fish fillet or steak in each, pour a little more than ½ cup of the split-pea mixture over each and arrange the tomato slices on top. Drizzle with a little oil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Turn the heat to broil, and broil for 2 minutes, or until golden.

Let stand for 5 minutes at room temperature, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Variation

If you wish to use salt cod, soak 2 pounds salt cod for 24 hours in cold water, changing the water several times. Rinse well under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Dredge in flour. Heat about 1 inch olive oil over medium high heat to 350°F and fry, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes per side. (Salt cod is not suitable for broiling.)

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