A Duo Of Salads And Cod With Lemon Caper Relish
Very few of us can live on salad alone. Or soup. I know I can’t. Although, after the indulgences of the holidays, we all felt a little need to detox. With my parents staying with me in Birmingham until last week, it was easy to find a balance of good-for-you meals mixed in with little indulgences here and there. Indeed, they had not until now tried white bbq sauce and not as much soul food but I fixed that pronto. Culinary moves that called for lighter but just as tasty meals in between.
As cliche as it may sound, if you feel nurtured on the inside, you show it to the ones you loved on the outside.
Things have been busy and good. The blog qot a bit quiet and for good reason. After our holiday stint on the beach in Charleston, my parents came home to Birmingham with me. And I loved having them here. We cooked, went to the symphony, the movies. We ate out and in and tried to find balance between long days at work and short evenings at home. Or at least, it felt that way to me. Probably because the night still falls so early.
There was nothing more heart warming than to see my mom set the table while my dad would cut the bread. Habits I grew up with that never seemed as important as they are now. With every year that passes, I realize how lucky I am that I get along so well with them for one and that they are still willing to put their own routine on hold to come visit for an extended period of time.
The difference this year compared to previous visits is that everything was a whirlwind (again…). A mix of driving back and forth, packing boxes, unpacking boxes. All this with super trooper pup Tippy somewhere in the car, who at 16 years old is decidedly the best dog ever. The minute we both got back in the house last week after we said goodbye to my parents, we both plopped down on our respective beds. I did not see that pup surface until dinner time. I pretty much did the same thing well, except for a big grocery trip to stock up on everything I needed to fix a few dinners and lunches.
I was starting to feel my energy levels getting low and decided to nip that in the bud with plenty of greens, seafood and nutritious grains. Among the recipes I made are three I want to keep on rotation this year. A spinach salad from the cookbook Jerusalem, chock full of dates, almonds and spices, a pan seared cod with a tangy lemon relish from The Sprouted Kitchen coobook. My go to meal last week was a quinoa salad that existed only in my head for a long while. A mix of sweet and savory with red and yellow quinoa, lots of herbs and topped by a barely set soft boiled egg.
I hate to say but all meals this week will feature plenty of hot soups and liquids instead. I am hoping my mother did not pass on her bronchitis on to me as a farewell gift but sure looks that way. Already perusing my favorite coobooks for nutritious soups.
If you have a favorite(s), please share!
Baby Spinach Salad With Dates and Almonds, very slightly modified from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 oz pitted dates
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small pitas. roughly torn in 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup whole, unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sumac
1 teaspoon cumin
5 oz baby spinach leaves
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, onion and dates. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your fingertips. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes. Drain the liquids and reserve the onion and dates.
Heat the butter and half the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita pieces and almonds and cook for about 5 minutes or until the pita is crunchy and the almonds are golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the sumac and cumin.
When ready to serve, toss the spinach, pita-almond mix along with the red onion and date mix in a large bowl. Add the remaining olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and toss one more time. Serve immediately.
Roasted Cod With Lemon and Caper Relish, slightly modified from The Sprouted Kitchen, Sara and Hugh Forte:
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
4 (5-ounce) cod fillets
2 shallots, minced
1/3 cup capers, drained
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Start the lemon a few hours before you plan to serve the dish, better yet, the day before if you can.
Cut both ends of the lemon, half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut into thin wedges and then a fine dice. Place the lemon pieces (and juices if possible) in a non reactive bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, the vinegar and honey. Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature at least 4 hours or overnight.
Pat the fish dry and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400F and position a rack in the top third of your oven.
Add the shallots, capers, parsley, olive oil to the bowl where the lemon mixture is. Stir well.
Season the fish fillets on both sides. Place a large sautee pan on the stove over medium high heat and add the coconut oil and butter. Heat to melt. Remove from the heat and add the fish to the pan. Spoon the lemon relish evenly over the fillets, place the fish in the oven and roast for about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Quinoa and Persimon Salad:
Makes 4 to 6 servings as a main dish.
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored and diced persimmons (about 3)
1/3 cup loosely paced flat leaf parsley, chopped
vinaigrette (recipe here)
In a large pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce the heat and
simmer, covered until all the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes).
Remove from the heat, fluff with a for and place in a large bowl to cool for 20
In the meantime, heat one teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion
and cook until it turns translucid. Add the garlic and sautee for a minute longer. Remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperatre and add the diced persimmons and parsley.
Gently fold the cooked quinoa and persimmon mixture together along with the vinaigrette.
Serve room temperature or cold.
[email protected] January 30, 2013 um 1:12 am
chicken soup with lots of herb always does the trick for me..especially with garlic bread and hot chamomile tea, yum!
Your quinoa looks very colourful.
Sprouted Kitchen January 30, 2013 um 1:33 am
looks so like so many yummy things! That quinoa salad is gorgeous, my dear. Thanks for including me, I am so flattered. Hope you don't get sick! xoxo
Sarah January 30, 2013 um 2:47 am
As always, Helene, your photos are inspirational, and aspirational for me! That fish looks lovely and luscious, absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing these recipes.
Unknown January 30, 2013 um 3:25 am
Sophie Dahl's roasted tomato with basil oil. Beautiful quinoa photo!
Ashlae January 30, 2013 um 4:46 am
The spinach salad sounds so delicious – must get my hands on a copy of Jerusalem. And I don't eat fish (terrible, I know), but if anyone can make a fish lover out of me, it's probably Sara. 🙂 Happy you had a lovely time with your parents!
ALB January 30, 2013 um 10:45 am
it looks just amazing!
Unknown January 30, 2013 um 2:08 pm
So glad you had such a fulfilling time with your parents. Yes, eat soup to keep a cold at bay. Sprouted Kitchen and Jerusalem have been my go-to books of late, too. So nice to see their recipes beautifully composed here.
Chlo Delay January 30, 2013 um 4:44 pm
quick question about the lemon – do you remove the pithe and peel or does it all go in to the mix?
Cecile January 30, 2013 um 6:23 pm
I recently made Leanne's curried cauliflower and apple soup from Healthful Pursuit, and it worked wonders for my sinuses. Hot, spicy, and yummy!
Colette (Coco) January 30, 2013 um 7:19 pm
Inventive salads…love the persimmon addition. And the fish, very Francais! YUM
elizabeyta January 30, 2013 um 8:48 pm
My soups when I am sick are miso (a nice artisan that I doctor) or bean. The bean soup is a mix of black beans and cannelli beans, onion, garlic, a bit of ancho, chipolte, twice as much paprika, salt and pepper. Vegetable broth to thin. It is what I crave. I hope you feel better soon.
Rocky Mountain Woman January 30, 2013 um 10:58 pm
My dad would make chicken soup with lots of garlic and noodles when we were sick. I don't think it made me get better quicker, but it sure made me feel loved…
I had that bronchitis thing last month and it was horrible. Get a lot of rest!!!!
Unknown January 31, 2013 um 3:48 pm
I'm saving this link just for the cod. It looks and sounds delicious. The salads, too, though. :o)
ChichaJo January 31, 2013 um 4:04 pm
Such gorgeous dishes! I especially love that quinoa with the softly set egg…I may just have that tomorrow!
When I am under the weather I love to have a soup that is infused with ginger. We have a local chicken soup called tinola that is cooked with ginger, raw papaya, and native greens (spinach would be a good substitute)…or another soup called arroz caldo, which is also like a ginger-infused chicken soup but with rice 🙂 Hope you feel better soon!!
Alissa N February 1, 2013 um 2:54 pm
I'm a vegetarian, and when I got sick after Christmas, all I wanted was soup. I made this kale soup, that ended up tasting remarkably like chicken noodle soup, even though it was minus chicken and noodles, but it was delicious and super healthy, so it charged up my body with healthy stuffs to get over the bug. I feel like a jerk plugging my site, but if you want to check it out the recipe is up on my blog 🙂
Inga February 2, 2013 um 8:02 am
Thanks for these lovely recipes, I made the duo of salads with the cod last night en we enjoyed it very much!
But I've a question about the coconut oil: I've never cooked with it, but found that is will be available soon here at a new, local organic supermarket.
The'll have a neutral, flavorless variety, that is only used for its healthy qualities, and one that also does taste and smell like coconut.
Which one is called for in this recipe?
Kind regards and thanks in advance for your response,
Helene February 2, 2013 um 5:06 pm
Chlo Delay: as per the recipe, leave everything on except the seeds.
Inga: the recipe does not specify so it's really up to your taste. I use coconut oil that tastes like coconut but some people prefer the one that is odorless. It all depends on your preference. Hope you like the dish.
Rhonda February 4, 2013 um 10:19 pm
It hasn't been intentional on my part but we have been doing a lot of salad and soup. I seem to never get tired of them. Most of my soups are a concoction of whatever I have on hand rather than a planned dish. They are what my mother called the kitchen sink soups.
I am having a bit of spoon envy here, love the colored spoon! I just bought some that color, but the handle was plastic, not nearly as nice.
Zoe Alexander UK February 6, 2013 um 10:19 pm
Mouthwatering photos and recipes! Quinoa is so versatile! I even use it in my porridge. Fabulous presentation!
Lulu February 13, 2013 um 9:43 pm
Love the spinach salad. Made it 10 times for family and friends since I got the book 6 weeks ago.Nice photos.By the way I'm a big fan from Kuwait
Ruth February 18, 2013 um 1:24 am
I have to try the cod recipe. When I was a kid, my mom used to cook many recipes using that ingredient. I haven't eatean it in a long time and I miss it.