This is another one from Tessa Kiros's Apples for Jam, this time from the "Green" chapter. It's one of those simple, but beautiful dishes that seems to be a defining characteristic of the way she treats food. Kiros suggests serving the bundles with mashed potatoes, which I did, because mashed potatoes happen to be my boyfriend's specialty. His secret ingredient is the inclusion of onion which gives the creamy potatoes extra flavor and texture. The potatoes especially have an affinity for the tomato sauce from Kiros's recipe, and soak the juices right up. Any delicate, while fish will work here, and although Kiros wrote the recipe for sole, we used tilapia since that's what we found at the market.
Tilapia Bundles with Spinach
Be sure that your fish filets are long and thin so they can be rolled easily.
5 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and squished a little
1/2 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 basil leaves, torn
3 cups firmly packed spinach leaves, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 sole (in this case tilapia) fillets, without the skin
All purpose flour, for dusting
Lemon wedges, to garnish
Sweat one of the garlic cloves in 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan large enough to hold the fish bundles later on. Add the tomato and basil, season with salt, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes until the mixture starts to become like a sauce. In another pan, heat the rest of the oil with the other clove of garlic and wilt the spinach. Off the heat, season with salt and add the cheese. At this point, remove the garlic clove
Lay out the fish fillets and put a bit of the spinach mixture on the narrowest end of each fillet. Roll the fillet around the stuffing, and secure with a toothpick. Roll the fish bundles in a bit of flour so they are lightly coated and arrange them in a single layer over the tomato sauce which should still be in the pan. Sprinkle with a little more salt if needed.
Put the lid on the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the bottom of the fillets turns a bit brown. Turn them over carefully, recover the pot, and simmer for 5 more minutes until the fish is cooked through. If the sauce begins to dry out, simply add a little bit of hot water and heat through.