It is 4:30 am and I have been up for hours. I had my morning cup of tea shortly after 3 am and as I type now the washer and dryer are running, my to-do list has been updated and I’m eating a bowl of chicken adobo and rice with a glass of orange juice to wash it all down. My body still thinks it’s midday so it demanded a hearty lunch–never mind that the roosters haven’t crowed on this side of the world yet.
I’ve just returned from our 3-week trip to Europe and jet lag, as expected, has set in. My husband and I visited France, Italy and Germany, mainly, but if you will allow me to get technical about it, we actually visited 5 countries on this trip if you count Monaco and a drive-by in Austria. All in all, it was one of the best trips my husband and I have ever taken and I’d like to share some highlights with you in upcoming posts.
Here are a couple of shots from our trip–more to come!
I mentioned in my previous post how happy my husband and I have been with the fish dishes at a local restaurant we’ve been frequenting lately. The pleasure of eating consistently well-prepared fish has inspired me to deviate from the usual grilled or broiled salmon (that I serve at least once each week) to make room for something different. This was what I made shortly before we left for our trip. I let the fresh offerings at the market dictate what would end up on my plate: pan fried trout with white bean purée, baby squash, wilted spinach all dressed with salsa verde (Italian parsley sauce, my recipe here).
With the exception of the salsa verde which is better prepared ahead of time to allow the flavors to develop, all other components of this dish were very easy to put together. The trout fillets were seasoned simply with salt then pan-fried in olive oil; the warmed can of white beans were puréed with chicken stock and garlic while the spinach and baby squash were quickly sautéed (separately). Together, the dish was well-balanced and quite a nice change from our usual.
Feel free to replace the white beans with mashed potatoes or the spinach and squash for other vegetables but don’t skip the salsa verde. It is what brings everything together. In fact, make a big batch and try it on this pasta salad–it has become a favorite of everyone who has ever tried it.
- Trout fillets (1 trout for two people for a large fish or 2 for a smaller one)
- 1 can white beans (cannellini beans)
- Fresh Baby Spinach (a few cups packed for two servings)
- Baby squash (as much as you like per serving)
- ⅛ to ¼ cup chicken stock
- A few cloves garlic
- Olive oil for sautéing
- Salt, to taste
- Salsa Verde (recipe: bit.ly/Psq0OW )
- To prepare the trout: season with salt and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes on each side (skin side first) in a pan with olive oil heated over medium-high heat. You want the skin to get crisp and the meat to be golden so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- To prepare the white beans: heat the can of beans in its liquid until warm then drain. Purée with ⅛ cup chicken stock (add more if you prefer a thinner purée) and 1 or 2 cloves of garlic. Season with salt to taste.
- To prepare the spinach: Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over med-high heat, add 1-2 cloves minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant (but not brown) then add the spinach along with a splash or two of the remaining stock. Cover the pan and cook until wilted, just a few minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To prepare the squash: In the same pan that you used to prepare the spinach, heat another tablespoon or two of olive oil over med-high heat then add the squash. Cook for 3-5 minutes until sides are caramelized.
- Assemble all components on a plate, dress with salsa verde and serve.