Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce


1 1/2 lb (750g) very ripe tomatoes, plus 1 tablespoon tomato puree (optional) or 2 X 14oz (397g) tins tomatoes
2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
1 strip lemon peel
Pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper


will keep in the refrigerator for two or three days

1. First make the sauce. If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel and de-seed them.

2. Plunge them into boiling water for a minute; then, using a fork, lift them out, make a small incision in the skin to peel them. Slice them open and squeeze out the seeds, then coarsely chop the flesh.

3. If the tomatoes are pale and lack flavour, add 1 tablespoon of tomato puree for colour and body.

4. If using tinned tomatoes, de-seed and coarsely chop them, reserving the juice.

5. Gently soften the chopped onions and garlic in the oil in a heavy pan over gentle heat.

6. Now add the tomatoes, basil, lemon peel and seasoning and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7. If you wish for a very smooth sauce, whizz the sauce in a blender or food processor, or rub it through a sieve.
The sauce can be gently re-heated when you are ready to serve the fish.

8. Heat the grill and oil the grill rack. Rinse the fish fillets, pat dry with kitchen paper and brush with a mixture of the lemon juice and 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

9. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and grill for about 4 minutes, or until the flesh is just opaque.

10. Pour a puddle of the sauce on to each of four warmed plates and place the fillets on top.

11. Serve straight away, garnished with basil leaves.

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