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Fish with Olives and Herbes de Provence (Poissons aux Olives et Herbes de Provence)

Fish with Olives and Herbes de Provence (Poissons aux Olives et Herbes de Provence)
This is a simple and delicious way to cook these produits du terroir from southern France. Although the recipe calls for using unpitted olives, you can pit them if you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 8 squid, about 1 1/2 lb. total
  • 1 1/3 lb. sea bass fillet, about 1 inch thick, cut
      into 4 equal pieces and skin removed
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried winter savory
  • 1/8 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Working with 1 squid at a time, cut off the tentacles just above the eyes. Squeeze the base of the tentacles to pop out the squid's hard beak. Cut off and discard the 2 long strands dangling among the tentacles. With your finger, pull out the plasticlike quill and entrails from the body. Rinse the bodies and tentacles with cold running water. Cut the tentacles in half lengthwise. Cut the bodies crosswise into rings 1/2 inch wide.

Cut four 12-inch squares of aluminum foil. Lay a piece of sea bass in the center of each square and brush with the olive oil. Add 2 full sets of tentacles and one-fourth of the squid rings to each. In a small bowl, stir together the winter savory, rosemary, thyme and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over the fish. Divide the olives evenly among the packets and top each with one-fourth of the tomato and a thyme sprig. Bring up the edges of the foil, crease together and then fold to seal tightly. Place on a baking sheet.

Bake until the fish is opaque throughout, 20 to 25 minutes. To test for doneness, open a packet and pierce with a fork. Transfer to individual plates and let the diners open their own packets.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring France, by Georgeanne Brennan (Time-Life Books, 1999).