Following a week-long trip abroad, my jet-lagged better half requested his first meal home be “normal food.” It’s a good thing I’m a mind reader, because clearly by “normal food,” he meant something clean in flavor, simple in preparation, and seasonal in ingredients. I’m pretty sure by “normal food” he meant in the style of Sharon Hage’s (former) York Street. Or maybe he just wanted a hot dog. Let that be a lesson to him to be specific next time, because this is what I ended up making:
A golden crusted, semi-firm, semi-flaky piece of Pacific Rockfish atop lightly sautéed mixture of cannellini beans, kale, diced parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, and onion seasoned simply with salt, pepper, a touch of paprika, and a drizzle of lemon juice based off of a recipe from the December 2010 issue of Shape magazine.
For me, any chance to mix seasonal veggies is a winning combination. The intricately sweet, earthy, and slightly bitter flavors of the root vegetables and leafy greens in this dish and along with its nutritional density definitely won me over.
A spread of winter vegetables:
Recipe yields 4 servings
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 medium turnip, peeled and diced
2 parnips, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika, more for sprinkling (optional)
1 bay leaf
15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch kale, center ribs removed and roughly chopped into bite sized pieces
1 lb Pacific Rockfish, skinned, rinsed, patted dry, and divided into four 4 oz fillets (You can use any larger, semi flaky white fish. The original recipe called for cod, which Whole Foods was out of on the Sunday evening I went shopping. Note to self: stop grocery shopping on Sunday evenings)
lemon wedge for lemon juice
salt and pepper
- Note: the two parts of the dish, the fish and the veggies, cook somewhat simultaneously. Start with the veggies (which take a touch longer), but start on the fish during the last part of the veggie preparation when you’re just heating ingredients through.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large, deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, turnip, parsnip, and garlic. Fry for about 5 minutes or until edges of veggies are turning golden brown, stirring frequently.
- Add paprika and bay leaf, cannellini beans, and 1/2 tbsp more olive oil and fry for 4-5 more minutes or until just heated through, stirring frequently.
- Stir in kale leaves and cook until leaves are wilted but not soggy, 3-4 more minutes.
- In the mean time, season fish fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay fish fillets gently in pan and cook 3 to 4 minutes each side, or until golden crust forms.
- Divide vegetable-bean mixture among 4 plates, top with fish fillet. Sprinkle fish with a touch of paprika (optional) and a few drizzles of lemon juice.
The better half’s verdict? He was happy to be home because “the food is better here.” Well, with the exception of a few delicacies.
as calculated by Sparkpeople Recipe Calculator
Calories 403 | Fat 12g | Cholesterol 50mg | Sodium 1080mg
Carbohydrate 40g | Dietary Fiber 10g | Sugars 7g | Protein 36g
Vitamin A 324% | Vitamin B-12 23% | Vitamin B-6 32% | Vitamin C 104%
Vitamin E 21% | Calcium 17% | Iron 21%