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Zucchini Crusted Haddock with Orange Salsa

Just in time for the January “let’s-eat low-cal-but-delicious” comes this recipe from Michele at “Our Italian Table.” As soon as I saw it, with its accompaniment of blood orange salsa, I knew what would be on our dinner table the next night. I made some adjustments, using haddock instead of cod, since my fish market has been selling really fresh wild haddock lately. Halibut would also be delicious here. I would have used the blood oranges called for in the recipe, but I had cara cara instead, and they worked just fine. But I’ll look for blood oranges next time, since they would add even more color. I added a little red onion and parsley, since I didn’t have the thyme the recipe called for, but other herbs would work great too, including chives or cilantro.

Use a mandoline to slice the zucchini very thinly and place the slices atop the fish, which has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper too, then a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of cornmeal. Don’t try to tuck the slices under the fish or you’ll be asking for trouble.

When the fish comes out of the oven, the slices are then pliable enough to easily tuck them under. A lot of liquid was released from the fish and the zucchini, but cooking the fish over parchment paper makes for easy cleanup.

While the fish is cooking, make the salsa using either blood oranges, cara cara or any other orange you like. Peel the orange with a knife, then cut supremes (no, not the Motown group, but orange sections) in between each membrane.

I served it with some saffron rice and broccoli and it was not only a colorful meal, but a delicious one that was waistline-friendly too.

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Zucchini Crusted Haddock with Orange Salsa
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • FOR TWO PEOPLE:
  • ¾- 1 pound haddock, cod or halibut
  • thin slices of zucchini
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil
  • cornmeal to sprinkle on top
  • FOR THE SALSA:
  • 2 oranges (cara cara or blood oranges)
  • a slice of red onion, finely chopped
  • minced parsley (or chives, thyme or cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  2. Lay the fish on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  3. Slice the zucchini paper thin, either with a mandoline or by hand.
  4. Layer the slices over the fish, overlapping them like fish scales.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of cornmeal.
  6. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  7. While the fish is cooking, make the salsa by segmenting the oranges and mixing with the rest of the ingredients.
 

Halibut with oranges and salsa verde

In an effort to eat more low calorie foods and lose some weight before dress shopping for my daughter’s wedding, I have been trying to cut back on the pizza, pasta and pastries and focus on fish, fruit and flavors. (I am constantly sabotaging myself and Superbowl Sunday party foods didn’t help.) Since it’s citrus season, and I can’t seem to get enough of those luscious cara cara oranges and blood oranges, I combined them with a fish that I love to order when eating out — halibut. It’s always so expensive at the fish market, making it a relative bargain on a restaurant menu. But I couldn’t resist buying some when I saw it on sale last week, and a 3/4 pound piece was enough for the two of us. It provided the perfect foil for the oranges and the salsa verde. It couldn’t be much simpler to cook either. Just dry the fish thoroughly, sprinkle with salt and white pepper and place it skin side down in a hot skillet coated with oil. I didn’t use olive oil here since the heat is cranked way up, but rather chose canola oil. You could use peanut or safflower oil, which also have a high smoking point. The skin will start to crisp up, and eventually loosen from the pan. After about five minutes, lower the temperature of the burner.

You could flip the fish over and finish cooking on the other side, or even easier, just leave it skin side down and cover with a lid. It should finish cooking in just a couple of minutes.

While the fish is cooking (or before you even start cooking the fish), make the salsa verde, by finely mincing the parsley, dill, onion, capers and jalapeño. The jalapeño is optional, but I had some candied jalapeño in the pantry and I thought they would add a nice “zip” to the salsa.

Scatter the orange sections and salsa all around the fish.

Serve with some rice and vegetables for a colorful, healthy and easy to prepare dinner that’s fit for company or just you and your partner.

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Halibut with oranges and salsa verde
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¾ lb. - 1 lb. halibut
  • 2 tablespoons canola, safflower, peanut or other vegetable oil with a high smoking point
  • 2 oranges sectioned into supremes (I used one cara cara and one blood orange)
  • FOR THE SALSA VERDE:
  • ½ cup finely minced parsley
  • ½ cup finely minced dill
  • a couple of tablespoons finely minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • a couple of slices of candied or fresh jalapeno (optional)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt, pepper
  • juice that remains in the oranges after sectioning
Instructions
  1. Let the halibut sit on the counter for about a half hour to let it reach a temperature closer to the room temperature.
  2. It will cook more evenly if it's not cold from the refrigerator.
  3. Dry the piece (or pieces) of fish, then sprinkle with salt and white pepper.
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet, then add the fish, skin side down.
  5. Cook at high heat until the skin starts to loosen from the pan.
  6. (Be patient - It will take five minutes or so and it will splatter a lot of oil on your stove).
  7. At this point, lower the heat slightly, and put a lid on the pan to finish cooking.
  8. It should take only a couple of minutes to finish cooking.
  9. While the fish is cooking, section the oranges and make the salsa verde.
  10. For the salsa, combine all the ingredients and stir with a fork.
  11. Remove the halibut from the pan, drizzle the salsa on the fish and around the sides, and scatter the orange sections all around.
 

Halibut In Tomato Sauce with Beans

 One of my favorite fish is halibut. It’s got a delicate, sweet taste, firm white flesh, and marries well with all kinds of flavors. Even people who claim to hate fish may be won over once they try this largest of all the flat fish.
Did you know that halibut can grow to more than 8 feet long and weigh as much as 700 pounds? Take a look at the largest Alaskan halibut ever caught by sport fishermen, weighing in at 459 pounds. Imagine cleaning that whopper.
Most of the halibut we eat here in North America comes from the Gulf of Alaska. While on a trip there several years ago, I ate a lot of halibut, but here in New Jersey, the price keeps me from enjoying it as much as I’d like. If I see it on a restaurant menu, it’s likely what I’ll order, or if it’s on sale at the market, I can’t resist.

 

This recipe is a one-dish meal that’s simple to make, tastes great and is low-cal too. If you can’t find fresh halibut, or want something less expensive, codfish can easily be substituted. The recipe is for two portions, although the accompanying photo shows just one portion served in a small casserole.


Halibut with Cannellini Beans
for two people:
halibut – between 3/4 and 1 lb., skin removed
6 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
1 can cannellini beans (about 15 ounce can), drained and rinsed
1 can chopped tomatoes (about 15 ounce can)
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt, pepper to taste
fresh basil

 

 

Saute the scallions and onions in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes and liquid from the can and cook for a few minutes, smashing the tomatoes a bit with a fork. Add the white wine, the cannellini beans, salt, pepper and shredded fresh basil. Simmer for about five minutes, then add the fish. Put a lid on the skillet, then let everything cook together for about five more minutes. That will be long enough to cook the fish. Garnish with more fresh basil and serve.