Aunt Suzy says . . . 

This dish is a “Wow!” in so many ways.  First and foremost, it’s delicious!  But also easy, with a minimum of fuss.  I made a few adaptations from the original recipe in Bon Appetit.  This is also a great option for use of leftover cooked salmon instead of  cooking the salmon specifically for this dish.

You can see that we enjoyed it with a French rose wine, which was a perfect complement.  We served it with this favorite quinoa salad, Lemony Quinoa with Crunch, which also was a great companion.  The whole meal screamed spring, although I can’t wait to make it later in the summer when tomatoes are in season!

Recipe makes 4 main course servings

The Salmon

EV olive oil

2 small garlic cloves

Salt and pepper

1/2- 3/4 pound salmon fillet, preferably wild caught

Pre-heat the oven to 450° and place the oven rack in the top 3rd of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Coat the salmon with a thin layer of olive oil.  (If using farm raised salmon, you can skip this step.) Press the garlic through a garlic press and spread over the salmon, then season with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon,  until salmon is medium rare (or to your desired doneness).  Cool slightly and then remove the skin and dark layer of flesh.  Set aside.

The Salad

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

Chickpeas from one large or two small  cans, drained, rinsed

2 cups chopped tomatoes (we used baby heirlooms from Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup Niçoise olives or other small black olives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4-1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and remaining ingredients except basil. Stir until tomatoes start to soften and the juice has thickened, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil. Place desired quantity of salad on individual serving plates. Tear salmon into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces and scatter over the salad.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Portuguese Fish Stew

February 1, 2012

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We’re going to focus on soups for February this year here at S&SK.  Typically February is definitely soup weather in these Northern climes, but it’s been very mild.  Nonetheless, it just seems like the right time for soups, stews and chilis, and I thought this fish stew would be a great place to start.  It has many layers of bright flavors and is easy to make.  Randy found this a few years ago in an old cookbook of mine, The Natural Health Cook Book, and it was an immediate hit!  We try to make it at least once a winter.  Serve with a baguette and a French or Italian white that’s on the richer side, with no oak.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder

Pinch of ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (liquid reserved for another use)

1 small butternut squash, cut in chunks

4-5 medium potatoes, yellow or gold, cut in chunks

1 bay leaf

2 3-inch strips orange peel (orange part only, no pith)

2 cups water

1 1/2 pounds codfish fillet, cut in 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with the olive oil and heat on a medium burner.  Add the onions, garlic and salt, stirring until coated with the oil.  Cover the pot tightly and “sweat” the onions over medium low heat for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.  When done, add the ground fennel and the cloves and cook one minute.  Add the saffron, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, bay leaf, orange peel and water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes).  Add the fish and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.  Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

COOK’S NOTES:  For the squash, I prefer roasting it first and then cutting in chunks.  This takes more time, but results in a creamier texture and chunks that hold their shape better.  See here for the method.  Sweating the onions and garlic is designed to make them softer.  Make sure you add the salt and watch carefully!  Mine burned a little, but this did not diminish the deliciousness of the soup. I think you could saute instead of sweat if pressed for time. You can create the base for the soup a day ahead and reheat before adding the fish.