One of my favorite fish preparations is to cook fillets right on top of vegetables. Could be tomatoes and chiles, eggplant and garlic, asparagus, celery and fennel, ratatouille (see below) or, as in this case, a big bunch of tender young greens stirred up with one big sautéed onion. Plain white fish is, after all, plain white fish. Vegetables make all the difference in the world. There’s still lemon, of course.
After a long week of rewarding Inter-Faith Hospitality Network volunteering and then a great weekend of cooking and serving our nephew’s fiancée’s bridal shower brunch, I needed an instant dinner that was healthy and would fit into my diet.
In fact, I just wanted my dinner on a tray in front of a movie with a decent glass of wine to wash it down. You might be in the same place this week. Barramundi is an Asian sea bass I buy at Costco in a big bag full in individually-cryovaced fillets. (While Colorado has some fresh fish in the stores, it’s often frozen, thawed, and soppy wet. I often choose fish in the frozen section and thaw myself.) Pull them out of the freezer and thaw them in their plastic sleeves overnight in the fridge or in a half-hour in a pan full of cold water and they’re ready to grill, sauté, bake, or fry. You can skip the grains if you like, but I’m very much in favor of leaving the heart-healthy grains in, even if in small portions. In fact, I’d recommend making extra grains and greens for the next day’s lunch or even as a bed for a runny egg at breakfast.
With an eye on that tray in front of the tv, I threw a Seeds of Change quinoa-brown rice packet into the microwave and had a bit leftover for my Tuesday druthers. Try this. You have nothing to lose and dinner to gain!
ONE PAN BARRAMUNDI ON LEMONY GREENS WITH DIJON SAUCE
SERVES 2 Easily doubled
I chop and stir the garnishes while the veggies and fish cook.
- Olive oil (no need for extra virgin here)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 5 ounces mixed fresh greens (I used spinach and baby kale)
- Crushed red pepper
- 1 large lemon, sliced into wedges
- 2 Barramundi fillets, 6-8 ounces each
- Dijon sauce (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup diced sweet pepper
- 1 ounce crumbled goat cheese, optional
- 1 cup cooked grains such as quinoa, barley, brown rice, or a mixture-optional
- In a large, deep sauté pan (12-inches), heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat; add onion, season with pinch each of salt and cover, and cook about 10 minutes until tender. Stir several times.
- Toss in greens with a pinch of salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and two wedges of lemon. Stir and let cook down a minute or so. Lay the fish fillets on top of the greens and season with salt and pepper. Place one wedge of lemon on top of each fillet. Cover pan and cook fish 3 minutes. Turn fillets over, replace lemon, and cook another 2-3 minutes or until just opaque and flaky.
- Divide vegetables and fish between two warm serving bowls and garnish with a generous drizzle of Dijon sauce down the center of the fish, followed by a little red pepper, and the crumbled goat cheese. Spoon grains to one side if using.
DIJON SAUCE: In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or plain yogurt, 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard, about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and one good shake of hot sauce. Let sit a minute or two to marry flavors.
LOWER CALORIE COUNT: Use less oil to cook the onions and greens in (you’ll need a non-stick pan), but don’t leave out fat entirely as our bodies need it to function and feel full. Go with the yogurt Dijon sauce and skip the goat cheese entirely.
WINE: Oregon Pinot Gris.
If you liked this, you might like this fish dish, which is similar, but oh-so-different:
Come cook with me!