"Braised lettuce is a tasty garnish for fish, protecting it from drying out and adding an unusual touch of green. The fish is surrounded by layers of onion, tomato, and lettuce, then topped with lettuce leaves instead of a lid. Any firm fish can substitute for cod. Prepare up to two hours ahead, and serve at room temperature, if you wish." —AW
6 (6-ounce) cod fillets
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 (12-ounce) head romaine lettuce, trimmed
3 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato (about 2 pounds)
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
Place fillets in a shallow dish. Combine vinegar and 3 tablespoons water; drizzle over fillets. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Carefully cut rind and white pithy part from lemon using a small knife. Cut lemon crosswise into thin slices; discard seeds. Reserve 6 whole lettuce leaves; coarsely shred remaining lettuce.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Layer about 2 cups shredded lettuce, 1 1/2 cups tomato, 1 cup onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, and half of the lemon slices in a 13 x 9–inch casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle vegetable mixture with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place fillets on top of vegetable mixture. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Repeat layers with remaining chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, garlic, and lemon slices. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Top with reserved whole lettuce leaves; drizzle with oil.
Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove whole lettuce leaves and fillets from pan; keep warm. Return vegetables to oven. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place 1 whole lettuce leaf on each of 6 plates; top each serving with 1 fillet. Spoon about 1 cup vegetable mixture over each fillet.