Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One Fish Two Fish...Three Fish Four Fish

Health articles regularly encourage us to work more fish into our diets.  If you consider the food regimens (at least purportedly) maintained by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Biel, I'll buy it.  No seriously, I deem fish a refreshing departure from weeks that seem to revolve around chicken.  In addition to its flavorful and waistline-friendly qualities, I greatly appreciate the quick-cooking benefit.  Here are a few dishes that have hit our table as of late. 

Garlic and Herb Oven Fried Halibut

This is an easy and yummy dish from Cooking Light, and the kids wolfed it.  (It's just a big fish stick, right?)  By the time it browned, it was nearly done, so I just finished it in the pan rather than heating up the oven.

Grilled Salmon with Sherry Vinegar-Honey Glaze and Spicy Tomato Relish

Bobby Flay rocks my world, once again, with this recipe.  The flavor combinations are just gorgeous.   He obviously appreciates vinegar, and this is a glorious example of how it shines in his dishes.  I love that he uses two different kinds - sherry in the glaze and red wine in the relish.  They marry beautifully and add a perfect tang to the grilled salmon.  I've made this photo extra large, as it is extra tasty.

Horseradish cream mashed potatoes are hiding behind the salmon in the photo, but let that not convey timidity.  I knew I could count on bold flavors in BF's salmon and figured the divine and forthright flavor of horseradish would be a great element to stand up to it.  I started by peeling, cutting and boiling baby red potatoes until fork tender.  Meanwhile, separately, I warmed some milk with a nice pat of butter, 2 fat spoonfuls of prepared horseradish and a couple splashes of cream in the microwave, and then added the mixture to the potatoes before pureeing with a handheld mixer.  Fresh pepper and a handful* of kosher salt finished it off. 

*Gasp on the quantity - I know...  But under seasoned mashed potatoes are the worst, aren't they?

Pan Seared Flounder with Lemon Sauce

No recipe here....this plate was actually inspired by the carrots (please bear with my momentary loss of focus), which looked so beautiful at the store that I couldn't leave without them.  I bought them first, and then picked up the flounder fillets as a convenient (frozen) protein. 

For the carrots (whose loveliness mandated a photograph), I melted a bit of butter in a saute pan and then added a half inch of water.  I dropped the peeled carrots in, threw on the lid and let them hang out for about 15 minutes until tender but not mushy.  A garnish of fresh dill and a sprinkling of kosher salt topped them on the plate.

For the fish, I dusted both sides with flour seasoned with salt and pepper, patted off all the excess, and seared them in about a Tbsp, each, of olive oil and butter.  They cooked for just a minute or two on each side.  I made a speedy (2 minute!) sauce in the hot pan after removing the fish, starting with a couple good glugs - maybe about 1/3 cup - of white wine (we had Sauvignon Blanc open, so that's what went in).  After it reduced for a minute or so, I squeezed in some lemon, turned off the heat, and swirled around a nob of butter until it melted.  Done.

FYI, the other side dish was simply brown basmati rice cooked according to the instructions on the container.  At the end, I stirred in some kosher salt and the remaining bits of chopped dill left on the cutting board from the carrots.  Waste not, want not.

Grilled Salmon Salad

A gem of the Northern Virginia area that we've missed since moving to Richmond is the Great American Restaurant chain.  This group of six-ish (?) restaurants is small enough to rise above the cheesiness of major restaurant chains and, despite its growth, still manages to preserve food and service quality.  These places are always packed, because the food is tasty, interesting, and well priced.  Also, the atmosphere is fun (loud = kid-friendly), and the servers are consistently fabulous.  In a tribute to Coastal Flats, one of the joints that we frequented, we attempted to replicate its grilled salmon salad at home.  This light salad is savory, sweet, salty,  and satisfying.  Mixed greens are topped with these components:

Salmon - brush with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper; grill until cooked to medium - still slightly transparent on the inside.
Potatoes - In advance, roast a whole russet potato at 400 degrees for an hour; allow to cool, then refrigerate until chilled. (We did this step the day before.)
Hericot Verts - Steam/boil until al-dente; shock in ice water.
Balsamic Caramelized Onions - As *enthusiastically* mentioned on numerous occasions, these make anything delicious.  We made these the prior day to top blue cheese burgers, so they were ready to roll.
Champagne Vinaigrette - Roughly equal parts champagne vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup each),  a Tbsp-ish of honey, 1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
Other garnishes - Chopped dates and goat cheese crumbles

This concludes my novel of a fish rant.  If you've got a great recipe/treatment, please share with a comment!


Allison said...

I love the salmon recipe, looks delish. And, I couldn't agree more that salt makes the potatoes. :) GAR has grown though; I think there are a dozen or so now, including a new Italian one in your old neck of the woods. Carlye's brunch remains one of my favs, though I miss you as my dining companion there. xoxo

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