Striped Bass all’Amatriciana
Florence Fabricant / The New York Times
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds fillet of striped bass or other firm, white-fleshed fish, skin-on, in 4 pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
2 ounces guanciale, pork belly or pancetta, diced
1 large onion, sliced thin
4 large cloves garlic, slivered
2 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with a fork
½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons slivered basil leaves
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread olive oil in a baking dish just large enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Season the flesh side of the fish with salt and pepper and set aside on a plate or cutting board.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the guanciale on medium low, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, and the cracklings are golden. Add the onion and cook until onion is soft and barely colored. Stir in garlic and continue cooking until it softens. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently about 15 minutes, until tomatoes have come together and reduced a bit. Stir in chile flakes and remove from heat.
Heat baking dish in the oven and when the oil is hot, remove it from the oven. Place fish, skin side down, in the dish. Spread the tomato mixture on the fish. Return dish to oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish just turns opaque and is cooked through. Serve at once or set aside at room temperature to serve in 30 minutes or so. Scatter basil on top just before serving.