Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Blackberry, Orange, and Fennel Salad with Pan-Seared Trout
An inadvertent blueberry-slash-blackberry theme has developed this week, first with whole wheat blueberry pancakes and then a quinoa and herb salad with blueberries (and one with blackberries). What can I say? It’s summer in New England and I take advantage of seasonal, local produce as much as possible when flavors sing and beautiful colors beckon. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m a farmers’ market junkie: the vast majority of my food shopping is done at local markets so not only are the fruits in my salad locally produced but so are the vegetables, herbs, and fish.
Today’s post thus continues with the salad-and-berry theme, albeit this recipe also includes a bit of citrus. Citrus is never in season in New England, alas, but oranges and blackberries are a great combination, and I’m grateful our food supply allows me to consume sprightly citrus fruit throughout the year. It certainly makes mixology a whole lot easier, too, as many cocktails include fresh lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice. Likewise for nuts (on the “I’m grateful to eat nuts even though they’re not local,” that is, not “nuts are great in martinis”).
Oh, right. This salad also includes fish. (A note to my vegetarian readers that the fish could easily be omitted and any other protein of choice could be substituted, of course.) Trout is a lovely little fish, lean yet meaty with delicate flavors. Trout provides protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and a number of B vitamins (notably B12) and minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. When the fish is paired with the fruit and fennel in a bright orange vinaigrette and topped with toasted sliced almonds, you’ve got another winning salad for dinner.
Treat Yourself: How to Make Spa Food at Home
1. Prepare the salad. Toss together thinly sliced fennel, flat-leaf parsley, blackberries, and orange segments together with an orange vinaigrette (EVOO, white balsamic vinegar, freshly squeezed orange juice, crushed garlic, fresh thyme, dash of salt, ground pepper). Orange-dijon vinaigrette works well, too – just add a bit of dijon mustard to the dressing.
2. Pan-sear the trout. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sear over medium-high heat a few minutes each side until it’s beautifully browned and succulent. I recommend keeping the skin on, as it’s wonderful when crispy and adds nutrition. Why waste food? I encourage you to give it a try and over time you just might come to love it.
3. Assemble the dish. Place the fish atop the salad and garnish with fennel fronds and toasted almonds. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette if desired.
I stand by my statement that this sophisticated and salubrious salad screams out “spa food.” (In a good way.) Although I’ve never eaten spa food nor spent the day pampering myself at a spa—not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I’ll bet if you make this terrific salad you’ll feel like a million bucks, too—without footing the bill for a facial.