Tag Archives: salad

Halibut with Spelt Salad

Growing up I didn’t appreciate the suppleness of fish. And then there was fish Friday in Boston (a Catholic tradition), which always tasted terrible, was generally fried and swimming in grease, and consistently left our place reeking like a deep- fried trawler.

All of the above truly killed it for me, but that ended many years ago when I had a fish epiphany in Hawaii. I realized that the less you do to fish the better; however, I do require some texture somewhere in the dish.

Last night I decided to make a warm spelt berry salad to complement a fresh wild-caught seared piece of halibut. Spelt’s an ancient grain, has a nutty flavor, and is rather chewy. A great compliment to fish.

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¾ – 1 lb. of halibut

1 cup spelt berries

1 shallot, minced

1 lemon, juiced and zested

½ cup chopped basil

¼ cup currants

1.5 cup chopped red kale

2 tbsp. of salted butter

1.5 tbsp. of ghee

¼ tsp. kosher salt

A pinch of sugar

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Pour the spelt into a saucepan and generously cover with water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil for 40 minutes, or until the grains have opened and are chewy.

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Chop up your basil and kale.

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Drain the water from the spelt and add back to the pan. Throw in the basil, kale, butter, currants, shallot, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and a pinch of sugar to the spelt pan and mix. Set aside until the fish is finished.

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Melt the ghee in a non-stick frying pan. Dry the more attractive side of the fish with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the ghee melts and begins to shimmer add the fish, with the salt and pepper side down, into the pan. Now sprinkle salt and pepper on the side facing up. Sear the fish until you get a nice brown crust and then flip. Sear for a total of 10-15 minutes (depends on the thickness of your filet).

Set the fish aside to rest for 5 minutes while you warm up your salad. Once the salad is warm, place the fish on top. I also added a few slices of avocado and sprinkled on some pine nuts, too. Enjoy!

Eat well,

April

“All men are equal before fish.” – Herbert Hoover

 

 

Chilled Basmati Rice Salad

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Last week I was reminded of how much I detest extreme heat. One of the greatest things about living in Laguna Beach is its ideal Mediterranean climate. Not too hot, not too cold. Sure, we may experience pesky things like the occasional earthquake, land slide, severe drought, oh, and let’s not forget our annual “fire season” (who says we don’t have seasons), but in between those apocalyptic events the weather is downright pleasant. The weather makes it all worthwhile, right?

I began to have my doubts last week when our non-air-conditioned house (because who needs AC when you live in an ideal Mediterranean climate. Hahaha) was climbing towards the 100-degree range. For three days straight our main living area was 95 degrees (my car registered 113 in the driveway). On the bright side, there was zip in the realm of humidity so that helped contain the exceptional sweat factor that one experiences on the East Coast when temps hover in this range. It was so dry that I had chapped lips! Needless to say, I was NOT in the mood to eat a warm meal. I had a hankering for something cold, and light. Preferably with an ice-cold brew.

I broke out the rice maker and cooked up some fragrant basmati. Next I rummaged through the fridge and pulled out some veggies. Here’s what you’re going to need:

Cold Basmati Rice Salad 

Serves 3-4 as a main dish on a hot summer night and 5-6 as a side dish. Depends on what kind of appetites you’re dealing with.

  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice. I prepared mine in the rice cooker, but follow the directions on the back of your package if you don’t have one of these.
  • 1 slightly overflowing cup of grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked and chopped asparagus
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1/2 medium-sized diced fennel bulb
  • 1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1.5 oz goat cheese
  • Some fennel fronds for garnish
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Finishing salt like Maldon sea salt flakes. My favorite!

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Get your shallot minced.

Get your shallot minced.

I have a burner on my grill so I sautéed the asparagus, fennel with 2 large pinches of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper (to taste or 1/8 tsp.). Add the shallot last once the asparagus and fennel are softened so it doesn't burn.

I have a burner on my grill so I sautéed the asparagus, fennel with 2 large pinches of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper (to taste or 1/8 tsp.). Add the shallot last once the asparagus and fennel are softened so it doesn’t burn. Cook until the shallots are soft.

 

Get your dressing ready. Add the Dijon and sherry vinegar, with a pinch of salt and sugar, to a small bowl. Mix with a fork until integrated. Add the oil and mix with a fork until they are fully emulsified and not separating.

Add the dressing to the rice while it's still warm so it soaks up the flavors.

Add the dressing to the rice while it’s still warm so it soaks up the flavors.

Add all of the other ingredients and pop it into the fridge until chilled.

Add all of the other ingredients and pop it into the fridge until chilled.

Pull of some smaller fronds and use as a garnish.

Pull of some smaller fronds and use as a garnish.

Serve once fully chilled.

Serve once fully chilled.

This would make a great side salad to bring to your Memorial Day BBQ,  too. Just double it up to feed a crowd.

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.” -Franz Kafka