Easy baked pike recipe. Learn how to cook fresh pike with vegetables and wine. The recipe includes instructions on how to scale the fish.
Like I have mentioned in my last post Fish Fillet in Tomato Sauce, I will dedicate the next two weeks to food coming from the South-East of Romania, a territory at the Black Sea and Danube Delta, called Dobrogea.
Obviously, as it lies at the sea and the river, the people of Dobrogea eat lots and lots of fish, much more than we used to do in the middle of Romania, in Transylvania, where there are only mountains.
- Not the sort of fish you could easily buy in the supermarket.
- You might be able to get it at the fishmonger's, but at least here, the only way I can get it is if somebody fishes it and gives it to me. That's how I got my hands on this fish.
- It was a rather large one, about 40-50 cm/ 15-20 inches long.
- It was gutted (Thank God!), but not scaled.
Otherwise, you need need carrots, onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, white wine, spices and herbs.
How to Scale a Fresh Pike
The pike was gutted but I did have to scale it. It was something I had never done before, but something I remember my grandmother doing very often. And her main complaint about it: the scales to be found all around the kitchen several days after scaling the fish and after swiping the floor several times in between...
I did have to google to be sure about the right way of scaling a fish and I think I found a very easy method or at least one that worked perfectly for me.
I still did find fish scales all over the kitchen days after eating the fish, just like my grandmother used to say, but the scaling itself could not have been easier. At least after the initial moment of disgust, touching a fresh pike is really not yummy, it is so slimy and slippery, pretty bähhh.
- Submerge the pike for only a few seconds into the hot water before beginning to scale it.
- As I have never seen this hot water method used for other fish, I suppose it has something to do with the sliminess of the pike. After “bathing” it, you will actually be able to hold and scale it properly.
- Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. You might need to boil two batches of water to fill a large heatproof bowl or deep roasting tin or casserole dish large enough to hold the pike completely submerged underwater.
- Submerge the headless pike for only a few seconds into the hot water.
- Take it out, place it onto a large chopping board, and scale it using the back of a smaller knife.
- Hold the fish steady with the left hand at the tail and scrape the scales with the back of the knife from the tail to the head. The scales should come off easily.
How to cook?
So, if you ever find yourself with a whole pike in your hands, do give this recipe a try, it is so delicious. And if you cannot find a pike, I have made this dish with pangasius pieces as well, it was just as good.
- Start with the vegetables as they will need longer to cook in the oven than the fish does.
- Chop the vegetables and place them in a roasting tin together with the spices, white wine, stock and tomato paste. Roast until almost done, about 30 minutes.
- Add the fish slices and continue roasting until the fish is cooked through but not overdone, about 20-25 minutes, it should flake easily.
What to do with the extra fish?
- You will only need four large pieces of fish for four servings.
- However, if you have a whole fish, there will be more slices you will be able to cut. Either baked them all with the veggies or save for making another dish.
- You can also freeze the leftover slices.
- Freeze the head and tail of the fish and any trimmings as well, they are perfect for making fish stock and fish soup with potatoes or fish soup with vegetables.
And if you would like to see the other Dobrogea recipes from this series have a look at these links:
Baked Pike Recipe (How to Cook Pike?)
- 1 pike about 40-50 cm/ 15-20 inches long
- 3-4 large carrots
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 medium onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 175 ml/ 6.7 fl.oz/ ¾ cup white wine
- 150 ml/ 5 fl.oz/ ⅔ cup fish or chicken stock
- ½ an organic lemon
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- a few fresh thyme sprigs
- fine sea salt
- a small bunch of parsley
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the pike very well. Gut it, if necessary. If it is already gutted, remove the head. Keep it to make soup. You could freeze it together with the tail and leftover fish pieces for making soup at a later time.
- Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. You might need to boil two batches of water to fill a large heatproof bowl. Pour the hot water into a very large heatproof bowl or pot that will hold the pike.
- Submerge the headless pike for only a few seconds into the hot water. Take it out, place it onto a large chopping board, and scale it using the back of a smaller knife. Hold the fish steady with the left hand at the tail and scrape the scales with the back of the knife from the tail to the head. The scales should come off easily.
- Chop the carrots into rings, the pepper into cubes about the same size and the onions into thin half-rings. Slice the garlic cloves thinly and slice the tomatoes and lemon as well. Place them into a large and deep baking or casserole dish. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and lemon slices.
- Pour the white wine and stock into a small bowl. Add the tomato paste and whisk well until smooth. Pour the liquid into the dish, place the thyme sprigs on top, and bake the vegetables for about 30 minutes or until almost done.
- In the meantime, cut the pike into pieces, about 5 cm/ 2 inches thick. You will need 4 slices for 4 servings, but if you want you can cook all of the pike pieces at this point or use the leftover pieces for making soup or another dish.
- Place the fish pieces on top of the vegetables and continue baking for about 20-25 minutes or until the fish is nice and flaky, but not overcooked.
- Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with plain boiled potatoes.