Tuesday 9 May 2023

Crushed Potatoes Fish And Green Olives Bake

I've been meaning to make this dish for quite some time, and finally here it is!  I watched an episode of Food Safari a few years ago, with host Maeve O'Meara, highlighting Portuguese guest cook Fatima Barroso.  She made her version of Bacalhau com Broa - cod with cornbread.  I didn't have access to bacalhau, and so I adapted her recipe rather than slavishly following it :=).

I tried to buy barramundi (aka Asian sea bass, apparently) fillets, but ended up with portions, skin-on!  And I was ever so glad in the long run, as the fillets were from Taiwan, whereas the portions were from Western Australia.  I just wish I'd had a proper fish filleting knife, as my cook's knife didn't really cut the mustard, so I ended up with less flesh than I should have.  Never mind; still delicious, and the kookaburras and crows really enjoyed the fleshy bits of fishy skin that I threw into the backyard. 

(almost) ready for the oven!

Serves 6:


4 large red or brown onions (about 800g./28 oz), sliced thinly - see Notes

30 mL (1.5-2 Tbs) EV olive oil

1-2 tsp sea salt flakes

ground black pepper, to taste

1-2 tsp dried herbs, like parsley or chives (or your fave)

1/4 tsp gochugaru or other dried chilli powder (optional)

800g./28 oz baby potatoes (I used the ones that come in a packet with butter and herbs)

a biiiiig sprinkle of sea salt

a few saffron threads (optional)

1/2-1 tsp garlic granules or 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, finely sliced

500g./18 oz firm-fleshed fish of your choice, cut into chunks - I used barramundi

a spritz of lime or lemon juice, over the fish chunks

110g./4 oz green or black olives  (I used split green olives in herbs and garlic)

130g./4.5 oz roasted red capsicum strips (from the deli, with vinegar and herbs)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or a gluten-free version)

2-3 big handfuls of crisps/potato chips of your choice

dried and/or fresh herbs - maybe 2-3 Tbs, to sprinkle over the top

2/3 cup (150-170 mL) of warm/hot fish or chicken stock


Grab yourself a lined baking tray, throw on the sliced onions which you have rubbed all over with the oil and seasonings, and into the oven at 200C/390F for 30 minutes

Give 'em a good stir, then back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes till meltingly soft and tender

Microwave the baby spuds for 5 minutes, then throw them onto a lined baking tray, add the salt, saffron and garlic, and into the oven at 220C/430F for about 20 minutes till tender

Wait till they cool a bit, and then crush them with your hands or a fork - not too madly, just so they flatten a bit

Now place the potatoes in a large baking dish -  see Notes 

On go the fish chunks, then the caramelised onions

And then you add the olives and capsicum, and sprinkle over the panko, potato crisps/chips and herbs

Bake at 190C/380F for 20-25 minutes, then take it out of the oven, and carefully pour the warm/hot stock into the middle of the dish

Back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes or so, till golden on top, and the fish is cooked through


Don't worry too much about how thinly your onions are sliced; you can break the slices up with your fingers, and they cook down anyway

This method of caramelising onions came via Alice Zaslavsky's cookbook The Joy of Better Cooking, and what a game-changer it is!  No more standing over a hot stove for ever, and watching to make sure they don't burn

Use your fave fish - maybe snapper or whatever firm, boneless fish you can get hold of; obvs., get a sustainable, local fish where possible

I used my large enamel baking dish - 33cm X 27cm (13 in X 10.5 in)

red (Spanish) onions ready for the chop

after the first 30 mins. - tender and soft and so easy to do!

bake at 220C/430F for 20 minutes

now layer the potatoes, the fish and the onions in a large baking dish

on go the olives and capsicum strips

ready for the oven at 190C/380F

and ready to eat

yep, we ate it!

a somewhat muddy kookaburra expecting fishy handouts :=)

c. Sherry Mackay


  1. I loved the recipe almost as much as the kookaburra did!🙂

  2. That muddy kookaburra looks so cute!! I wish I could find the fish fillets, except salmon, with skin on. Cod with skin on would be fabulous. Awesome that you all enjoyed it, Sherry.

    1. I feed them from a fork! They are very demanding :)

  3. Such a wonderful combination of flavors - gotta love anything with fish and potatoes, and the addition of olives is fantastic!

    1. thanks David. I was pleased with how this turned out.

  4. This looks super-tasty and will be trialed soon with a local fish - am not a bacalhao lover, Iam afraid!. But always have gochugaru in hand . . . what did we do ere Korean cooking arrived on our shores :) ! These days still oft watch Maeve on late at night and wish I would live closer to Sydney to go on her city food adventures!

    1. I like bacalhao but have never seen it here. I think like that about Japanese cooking! Tho i do always have gochugaru in the pantry. So many delicious flavours in the world ...

  5. Sounds very tasty indeed, Sherry. Love the bold flavors here.

  6. Wow! That is a beautiful meal. I am saving this recipe. Love that kookaburra too :-)

    1. thanks Tina. Yep we enjoyed the meal, and i love the local birds.

  7. Oh I love those birds! You’re so lucky. Is that potato chips on top of the dish?! I loved everything until that step…

  8. I love how you have adapted the recipe to what was at hand. And that is a muddy bird! What has he/she been doing?

    1. the kookaburras go fishing in the local creek!

  9. Interesting recipe, by the looks of the kookaburra - he's all in!

    1. yep for sure. the kookas love to come begging.

  10. That kookaburra looks like he was swimming in a mud puddle! :-) This recipe sounds delicious, Sherry. I haven't played around with Portuguese cuisine much, but I should try it out. The fish combined with potatoes and olives sounds quite delicious!

    1. yes indeed that's what they do - fishing in the local creek for lunch:) This was pretty tasty.

  11. I like the sound of the olives with the potatoes.

    And look at that kookaburra! Adorable.

    1. yes they are cheeky devils. they fly at our kitchen window to demand food!

  12. Oh yum! So many of my favourite ingredients in one dish. I love the idea of cooking the onions in the oven - that's genius!

    1. thanks sammie. Yep I am so glad I came upon that idea for the onions. Alice is so clever!

  13. I think fish will be on the menu tomorrow night! Dave bought me a fish filleting knife about 25 years ago and we use it often. Worth having imo.
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime https://tandysinclair.com

    1. i almost never need a fish filleting knife :) THis was the first time in ... maybe forever Hehehe


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