THIS TIME OF YEAR, OH! THIS TIME OF YEAR August and September, they're my favorites months to cook. The fullness of late-summer and early fall make each day's stove-side dance an unrestrained rhythm of reaching for vegetables plucked from the garden earlier in the day, adding some onion, garlic maybe, a few seasonings. Mostly, the vegetables tell their own stories without the rigidity of a recipe. But I take notes, listening to their requests, learning what this zucchini likes, what that corn does not. And when the rhythm plus the words make a dish that sings, my notes later arrange themselves into lists of simple ingredients and hints to guide the hands of other cooks in other kitchens, a chorus of sorts. Yeah, pure poetry. Not my words, but the dance itself. Do August and September make you dance? It's a happy thought, all of us dancing in our respective kitchens, listening to the songs of vegetables.
QUICK SUPPERS So y'know, what I call "Quick Suppers" are much-visited favorite recipes at KitchenParade.com. How I never thought to deliver the same to A Veggie Venture, I'm not sure! But look for more recipes like today's, still vegetable centric but more attuned to an evening meal.
Just so you know, my definition of a "Quick Supper" doesn't just watch the clock. Instead, Quick Supper recipes go easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Every recipe fits at least three of those four goals and the best recipes match up with all four. Since A Veggie Venture is the "blog about vegetables" but not vegetarian, please know, some of these recipes will include protein from meat and fish. But not to worry, the already-long list of Vegetarian Suppers will continue to grow as well. Want to know more? Note to Vegetarians
RECIPE for ROASTED SALMON with GARDEN HASH & CREAMY AVOCADO SAUCE
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4, easily divided for fewer servings
1 pound zucchini, trimmed and diced very small
1 yellow squash, trimmed and diced very small
1 onion, trimmed and diced very small
1 red bell pepper, trimmed and diced very small
1 ear corn, kernels only hot to cut corn kernels off the cob (step-by-step photos)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper, be generous!
1 pound salmon filet, skin on
Sprinkle of good salt
Slices of fresh lime, optional
CREAMY AVOCADO SAUCE
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Zest of a lime
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 small lime)
1/2 cup buttermilk
Water to thin, about 1/4 cup
Heat oven to 450F/230C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
GARDEN HASH Stir together all the vegetables, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a thin, even layer on the baking sheet.
SALMON Rub the filet with a touch of oil, then cut into four pieces and arrange on top of the Garden Hash, leaving room between the pieces. Sprinkle with a touch of good salt and arrange lime slices on top.
ROAST Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.
CREAMY AVOCADO SAUCE While the salmon roasts, chop the green onion, garlic and salt in a mini food processor. Add the lime zest, lime juice, avocado and buttermilk, process until smooth, you may need to use a small spatula to clear the blades a time or two. A tablespoon at a time, add water and process until a saucy, spoonable texture is reached. Makes about 1 cup, you'll have lots leftover for other uses.
TO SERVE With a wide spatula, lift a salmon piece and some Garden Hash onto a plate, drizzle a tablespoon or two of Creamy Avocado Sauce over top of the roasted salmon or serve on the side.
MAKE-AHEAD TIPS The morning of serving, prep the Garden Hash, cover and refrigerate. The Creamy Avocado Sauce can be made ahead too, the lime juice will prevent it from turning brown, just be sure to cover and refrigerate.
LEFTOVERS Best served fresh from the oven but no one would object to eating the leftovers, either cold or gently rewarmed, the next day.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
BASEBALL BAT ZUCCHINI For anyone still looking for ways to use up giant zucchini, this recipe would not be my choice. But even a giant zucchini, unless it's turned bitter, has considerable tasty flesh, just cut out the seedy, spongy center, maybe "stripe" the skin if it's thick and tough.
SIZE MATTERS For the vegetables to cook so quickly, they need three things. (1) small size (2) plenty of oil, I allow a tablespoon per pound of vegetables and (3) space. So do dice the vegetables as small as your sharp knife and patience will allow; do toss them really well, really getting in there with a spatula to distribute the oil throughout all those tiny bits; and do spread them evenly and as thin as possible on the sheet pan.
NOT INTO DICING? No problem. Cut the vegetables into big chunks, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then to give the vegetables a head start, roast the vegetables by themselves for 20 - 30 minutes before adding the salmon.
ABOUT THOSE MUSHROOMS Please ignore the photo's mushrooms! They were so cool looking and I thought they would roast well with the other vegetables. NOT. Skip the mushrooms.
SAFE TEMPERATURE FOR COOKING FISH To avoid overcooking (or undercooking) expensive fish, I use a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the flesh and roast the fish until the internal temperature reaches 145F/65C, the recommended temperature for fish. No thermometer? The flesh becomes opaque and will separate easily with a fork. But really? Splurge on an inexpensive thermometer before investing in expensive fish. It truly pays!
GARLIC IN A FOOD PROCESSOR Whenever possible, chop the garlic first, along with another ingredient for a little volume and something to grab onto, like salt. This helps the garlic clove chop down into the tiniest possible bits that distribute well, not big garlicky chunks.
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MORE FAVORITE WEEKNIGHT-EASY FISH RECIPES~ Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Leftover Lobster ~
~ Vegetable Coconut Curry with Shrimp ~
~ Hurricane Rice ~
~ more vegetables with fish & seafood recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad ~
~ Easy Baked Fish with Red Pepper & Cucumber Salad ~
~ Fish with Roasted Okra "Fries" & Tomato-Fennel Salad ~
~ more fish recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
COOKING IN SEASON: THIS SAME WEEK ACROSS THE YEARSRoasted Eggplant & Tomato Pizza Quick Tomato Sauce Tomato & Rice Salad Zucchini Pumpkin Bread (< lovely for early fall!) Swiss Chard Gratin Broccoli Parmesan Casserole Four Seasons of My Favorite Herb Green Beans with Mayo-Soy Sauce (< totally easy, so good!) Farmgirl's Swiss Chard Tuna Salad Grilled Cheese BLT Homemade Onion Dip Julia Child's Lentil Salad Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Vinaigrette (< this week's dramatic favorite!) Raw Butternut Squash Salad Slow Cooker Butternut Squash with Ginger & Dried Fruit Easy Steamed Bok Choy Salad
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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