This meal fits together perfectly. The crunchy crust on the loaf goes perfectly with the tasty, plump roast vegetables. The fish is, well, fish, but it just fits. Everything is exactly as it should be. Which is actually a total coincidence, because really I just wanted to break in the Italian home baking book my lovely mother-in-law bought me and I winged the rest based on what colours I thought would look nice together on a plate. To be honest, though, the bread on its own is so good that you could put basically anything next to it and still have a wonderful meal. I love a loaf with serious crust but a soft, moist inside, and this delivers in every possible way. I am so excited for the rest of this baking book.
Ingredients for the rustic bread:
225g white bread flour
100g wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp salt
a pinch of black pepper
7g dried yeast
210ml warm water
1 tsp olive oil
30g sun dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
Takes about 3 hours
Stage one: Either combine all the ingredients in a bread maker and switch to the dough setting, or make by hand by kneading for 10 minutes and then covering with a damp tea towel and leaving in a warm room for 90 minutes. I added sun dried tomatoes, which were pulverised in the bread machine such that you can’t really see them in the bread when it’s baked, but give the whole thing a lovely extra flavour. In the original recipe were olives, which you add in just before proving.
Stage two: Punch the dough down, knead for a couple of minutes, and then shape into an oval loaf. Place it on a baking tray and leave it in a warm room for 40 minutes to prove. I do this by placing it on top of the preheated oven.
Stage three: If you haven’t already, preheat the oven to 200C/fan180C. Brush the loaf with olive oil and bake for 35 minutes.
Ingredients for the baked haddock:
4 fillets haddock
200g cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
a handful of basil leaves
Takes 30 minutes to make
Stage one: Preheat the oven to 180C/fan160C. Prep the vegetables and put them on a roasting tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, season and put in the oven for 15 minutes.
Stage two: Give everything a stir, and then push the vegetables aside so there’s space for the 4 fillets in the middle of roasting tray. Lay the fillets in the middle of the tray, season, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and finally tear the basil leaves over the top. Pop back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.