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A paean to granddogs

Haddock, one of Karu’s granddogs, is a Brussels Griffon and a sweet, silly, loveable mess.

My status as a dog lover is obvious to anyone who might care to stalk me on social media. My Instagram and Facebook feeds are heavily weighted with content about the dogs in my life—my own and those of friends and family. I keep a Pinterest board titled “Crazy Dog Lady,” a treasure trove of all things canine, from hip dog furniture to recipes for frozen yogurt puppy pops.

Olive, a Pittie mix, was dealt a rough hand from the start, but has found love and a forever home with her innkeeping dads, Karu’s son and his husband.

Besides my own two ill-behaved canine-American companions, the dogs I cherish most belong to my children. In lieu of grandchildren, they have given me granddogs, and that suits me just fine.

My daughter’s Brussels Griffon is a sweet, silly, loveable mess named Haddock. Haddie is unique—a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a bossy blond ball of fluff. My son has a gorgeous rescue dog named Olive. Olive, a precious pittie mix, was dealt a rough hand from the start, but has found love and a forever home with her innkeeping dads.

Some people keep pictures of their grandchildren displayed prominently. I have dog pics at the ready, with Haddock’s and Olive’s on heavy rotation. I have even honored them with one of my favorite culinary creations—a dish called Haddock + Olives. It’s been a family favorite since I came up with it several years ago, employing a Maine menu staple—haddock—and the fruit of my favorite tree—olives.

This dish is easy to prepare and a tasty way to enjoy more fish in your diet. It’s colorful and light, perfect when accompanied by a crusty baguette, roasted Maine potatoes or a garden salad. It’s easy to scale up for a crowd or down for dinner à deux.

Now if one of my kids would only adopt a dog and name it Tomato…

The Haddock + Olives dish was created in honor of Karu’s two granddogs, Haddock and Olive.
Photo by Candace Karu

Haddock + Olives

2-ish pounds of fresh haddock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup white wine
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 ounces
1/2 cup chopped, pitted green olives
1/4 cup capers (with juice)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400º.
On medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until softened, but not browned.
Add white wine and bring to a boil.
Add tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer on low heat for 20–30 minutes.
Transfer tomato sauce to glass baking pan and place haddock fillets on sauce.
Place in oven and cook until fish is just cooked through and flakes with a fork, between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Cook’s notes

I use petite diced tomatoes for this recipe and both green and black olives.

When my garden is in full swing, I like to add just-picked cherry and grape tomatoes to the canned tomatoes the recipe calls for.

If you want a bit of a kick—arribbiata style—add a pinch of red chili flakes to the sauce.

Leftover fish is not always enticing. However, this dish is delicious warmed up over pasta the next day.

Candace Karu makes her living writing about food, fitness and travel. She lives near the ocean in an old farmhouse with two ill-behaved dogs and two hard-working barn cats. Follow her on Instagram: @candacekaru or at www.candacekaru.com.

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