This dish is the best when the tomatoes are fresh and ripe, but it will be almost as good with canned plum tomatoes. It makes a complete one-pot meal, including vegetables and proteins. I used spinach, but escarole is a good Italian American substitute.
- 2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, halved and cored (about 4 cups)
- 2 pounds skinless halibut fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- ¼ plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- ¼ teaspoon peperoncino
- 6 ounces fresh spinach, trimmed (about 12 packed cups leaves)
Put the tomato halves in a food processor and process to make a smooth puree. Set aside.
Season the halibut chunks with ½ teaspoon salt. Spread the flour on a plate, and lightly dredge the halibut, tapping off the excess.
Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil into a large skillet, and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the fish and brown on all sides, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes in all. Remove the fish to a plate and keep warm. Add the sliced garlic to the skillet. Let the garlic sizzle for a minute, then pour in the tomato puree. Slosh out the food processor’s work bowl with 1 cup hot water, and add that to the skillet. Season with the peperoncino. Bring to a rapid simmer, and cook until very thick, about 10 to 12 minutes. Season the sauce with the remaining teaspoon of salt, and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Increase heat to high, add the spinach, and cook until spinach is just wilted into the sauce, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Divide the spinach and sauce among plates, and serve the halibut on top.