Wednesday, August 24, 2016

5 easy steps to a healthy fish dinner, cooking with Middle Eastern spices

A pan of Icelandic haddock with fresh spinach, eggplant slices, cherry tomatoes, pitted olives and other ingredients takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Complete the meal with a glass of wine and a big salad, below.
A 1-pound package of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix was $4.89 at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro. Small cucumbers were $2.50 a pound at ShopRite in Paramus.


I love the ease of preparing a fish medley -- a fresh, wild-caught fillet cut into serving pieces and combined with fresh spinach, pitted olives, tomato, shredded cheese and other ingredients.

You pop the pan into a preheated 400-degree oven and in 15 minutes or less, dinner is served.

The Fish Dock, owned and operated by Icelanders, is where I first encountered and purchased a medley, but because the seafood market is about 10 miles away, I usually make my own version at home.

See the photos below for how to assemble a medley: 

I lined a large pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and added about a half-pound or more of fresh organic spinach ($3.99 for a 1-pound package at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro), drizzled the spinach with extra-virgin olive oil and added a little sea salt.

I added thin slices of a small eggplant from my garden and brushed them with extra-virgin olive oil.
Then, I added pieces from two skinless and boneless fillets of fresh wild-caught Icelandic Haddock ($8.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale), topping the fish with fresh lime juice, Aleppo red pepper, cut up cheery tomatoes from my garden, pitted black olives and a reduced-fat shredded cheese.

Torn basil and mint leaves from my garden were the last touch before I put the pan into a preheated 400-degree oven for up to 15 minutes. This time, I pulled the pan out after 12 minutes and the fish was cooked through. The 2.36-pounds of fish is more than enough for four people, at a cost of about $5.25 each.

The finished dish. The high heat toasted the herbs, but the haddock remained moist and flaked beautifully.

The next day, I enjoyed some of the leftovers over organic brown rice I had prepared in a rice cooker with organic chicken stock, organic diced tomatoes and organic beans.
A breakfast or dinner side dish of fresh spinach is a snap to prepare in a non-stick pan over medium or medium-high heat with a little olive and sesame oils, plus cheap sake or just a little water. Here, I added two Middle Eastern spices -- ground Aleppo red pepper and za'atar, a dried thyme mixture with salt, both of which I buy at Fattal's, a bakery, grocery store and butcher shop at 975-77 Main St. in Paterson.

Aleppo red pepper is a mildly spicy accent for omelets, fish, soups and whole organic eggs. Here, I served the eggs over boiled skin-on sweet potatoes and peeled garlic cloves mashed with extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and just about every spice I have, including ground cinnamon, curry powder, red-pepper flakes and black pepper.

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