Carrots are almost always the “understudy,” but they’ll take a starring role when you make this simple recipe. They’re so easy to roast in the oven, and with a simple salsa verde, these beauties are elevated to dinner party status. I love them equally well whether they’re warm from the oven, or served at room temperature, making them perfect as do-ahead veggies when guests are expected. Try to find these multi-colored carrots with the tops still attached. They make for a much prettier presentation.
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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Sorry readers, if I’ve been a little derelict in keeping up with this blog in the last month. But between a nasty bout with bronchitis and the last minute onslaught of Christmas preparations, updating the blog has taken a back seat. But I’m back and hoping to catch up with all of you.
I hope you all had wonderful holidays surrounded by family and friends, with good food in abundance. If you’re like most people, you ate way too many cookies, cheeses, meats and other fattening foods. Are you starting to make resolutions to eat a little lighter in the new year ahead?
The excessive holiday eating leaves me craving healthier foods, although I don’t get serious until after New Year’s eve and New Year’s day — one final hurrah before the Christmas indulgence is truly over.
But as soon as the holidays are past, I plan to eat less pasta, pizza and pastries and consume more fish, vegetables and fruit. This swordfish dish is a good way to start. It’s easy to make and delicious too. Just remember not to overcook the swordfish, which can taste dry if left too long in the broiler or on the grill. I use the same technique in cooking a swordfish steak as I do in cooking a beefsteak — that is, the finger test. Press the center of the fish after a few minutes in the broiler. It should have some “give” to it. If you cook it too long, it will feel hard and won’t “spring” back when you touch it.
Broccoli romano, also known as broccoli romanesco, is probably my favorite vegetable (although artichokes are a close second). It’s not easy to find it here in the states, but occasionally I see it at farmers’ markets or even in my supermarket. When that happens, I don’t hesitate to buy it, even though it’s a bit pricey.
Aside from the taste, which is more like cauliflower than broccoli, it’s just a beautiful vegetable that is an exquisite example of fractals (go look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls – [if it still exists] – I guess I should say look that up in Wikipedia!)
In any event, even if you can’t find broccoli romano, you can make this recipe using cauliflower, which is easy to find in the markets.
First cut off the leaves and trim the stem, then slice into pieces about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.
Smear with some good olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place it in the oven at high heat while you chop up herbs and other goodies for the salsa verde.
Flip the “steaks” over half way through cooking. If it’s getting too browned, lower the temperature.
Place on a platter then spoon the sauce over it.
Served with some quinoa and glazed carrots, it made for a colorful and delicious vegetarian dinner. For once, I didn’t miss the real meat.
1/4 cup olive oil (plus more to brush on surface of broccoli romano)
juice of 1/2 lemon (or more if your lemon is small), plus a small piece of the lemon rind
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. red onion, minced
2 T. capers
fresh parsley, minced (about 3 or 4 T.)
salt, pepperPreheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice the broccoli romano – or cauliflower if you can’t find the broccoli romano – into pieces between 1/4″ and 1/2 ” thick. Smear them with olive oil, then sprinkle on some salt and freshly ground pepper.
Place them in the oven for about 15 minutes – flipping over once (and repeating the olive oil, salt and pepper).Take them out of the oven when they feel tender to the fork, or when you can easily pierce them with a knife. Depending on how thick you sliced them, they’ll need more time (or maybe less if they’re thinner than mine).
While they are cooking, make the salsa, by mincing the lemon rind, garlic, onion, capers and parsley. Add the olive oil, plus the lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper and stir everything together. Spoon the salsa verde over the broccoli romano or cauliflower steaks.