Ok, I just had the most amazing dinner….at home. And boy was it easy, especially easy, since I didn’t make it! You know, we are always looking for quick, easy, healthy things to make for dinner, but we get stuck in a rut. For awhile, when I wasn’t working, I would go through magazines and cut out recipes I wanted to try and put them in a binder. I did this because I knew that once I looked through that Cooking Light or Eating Well, I was not going to remember what was in it and what looked so exciting to me. Also, leafing through six to ten magazines sounds romantic, but does not make for a quick dinner at all. I only did this for two months, though, so we were back in the same “what’s for dinner” boat.
We had just bought a ton of veggies, but I had no inspiration, so I asked Laurent to bring home some fish. He came home with the most beautiful halibut I have ever seen. It was pristine white, smelling of nothing but clean. The halibut cost $20 at Whole Foods, but was well worth it. That breaks down to $10 a person for a restaurant quality dinner. We leisurely leafed through some magazines for inspiration, since Laurent had gotten off of work early. We came up with Broiled Tilapia with Frisee-Apple Salad and Mustard Parsley Sauce from the April issue of Cooking Light. Well, we had no tilapia, no parsley, no frisee, or any mint or sour cream, like the recipe called for, but that didn’t stop us!
It was time to get cooking. Laurent brushed the halibut with olive oil and then salt and peppered it. He seared it and then broiled it for seven minutes. He said when he took it out, it still felt a little loose, and he was tempted to cook it a little longer, but resisted and just let it rest. Smart move. He was probably remembering when he put the ribeye back in the oven “for just a minute more” and then kissed the perfect medium rare goodbye and the evil eye from me hello! The halibut was cooked perfectly. I don’t know if I have ever had a better piece of fish in my life. The halibut was moist and flaky. The taste was mild and pure ocean, clean, clean, clean.
The side veggie was choy, some sort of choy. Not bok choy, some other choy. The best choy I’ve ever tasted. I don’t even have a picture to show you because I was not planning this blog. And all I wanted to do was have a nice dinner. Once we took a bite, I said “I need to go get my camera, this is amazing.” My blog isn’t known for its amazing photos unfortunately, although I would love to change that. So, you got one picture, before I devoured my dinner!
Anyways….Laurent had gotten this choy at H Mart in Niles. You have to go there. It is a huge Asian Market with a mind-boggling array of beautiful exotic veggies, fish, seafood, a dozen kinds of kim chee, a food court, rice cookers, etc. Laurent said the veggie choices were amazing. He wants to get fresh bamboo next time and some semi dried sliced octopus. So this member of the choy family had smaller, greener more texture-y leaves than bok choy and greener smaller stems, which I like. I don’t love the watery cabbage-y stems of bok choy. Give me green and leafy any day. So Laurent just sautéed the choy with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. That was it. That is all this whole dinner took, was olive oil, salt and pepper. Really. The choy had great, complex flavor and texture. It was almost fennel-y in taste, but, at the same time still had a deep green kale like flavor.
The only other accompaniment was some arugula and green apple tossed in; you guessed it, olive oil, salt and pepper. The fish, when plated, was dolloped with a mixture of yogurt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of Thai basil. I haven’t used Thai basil in a while. I forgot how fragrant and distinct it was, fennel-y, peppery, biting. Not at all mellow like Italian basil. It added so much to the dinner even in such a tiny dose. The yogurt sauce added just a hint of flavor to the perfect fish without being overwhelming. I can’t imagine having used the sour cream, like it called for. The yogurt was light and creamy and tangy. The mustard added a little bite to enhance the mild fish.
After dinner we said, “We need to cook fish more often.” It is quick, easy, light and healthy. Dinner was literally done in ten minutes. How much faster can you get than that?
So, what a great dinner and inspiration for a blog post, all impromptu, passionate and straight from the heart; just like I like it. Because you never know when you are going to be inspired.
Here is the link to the inspiration for our halibut dinner in the April issue of Cooking Light. The recipe is actually written quite complicated, whereas it was a very easy preparation. Here is my interpretation!
Brush fish with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Broil for seven minutes or until done. It will be a little loose, just let it rest. You can always pop it back in the oven if it isn’t cooked enough.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Throw in a little olive oil & then the choy variety of your choice. Add salt and pepper. Sautee briefly, until wilted.
Toss some arugula and sliced apple with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Mix 2 Tbl yogurt, 1 Tbl mustard (any kind you like), a squeeze of lemon juice and 1 tsp of chopped herbs (whatever kind you have on hand). Dollop this on the fish. Use the leftover on a salad the next day like I did. Yum!