How is it already 2013? I don't know about you, but 2012 flew by. Lots of milestone events, plenty of good times, and a whole lot of excitement, that's for sure! I hope it was the same for all of you! I decided to kick off the New Year with a recipe using one of winter's most beloved (or hated?) fruits. The pomegranate. I really forgot how obnoxious it is to get the seeds out of this fruit! Whoever the first man was to eat the seeds from a pomegranate, I commend you. Pomegranate seeds are great - crunchy because of the seed inside, but with a nice pop like caviar. The flavor is sweet, but also a bit tart. Not to mention, it's garnet hue is stunning! So what to do? Obviously it can be used on salads and with various vegetables to play up their sweetness, but I really wanted to play up the tartness within the seeds. With that, I decided to put it together with a great pickled mustard seed vinaigrette and a light fish. The combination is fabulous, and only get's better to the last bite!
Whole Roasted Dorado
2 whole dorado, cleaned
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 400F. While the oven is heating up, prepare your dorado. You can use branzino, or any other flaky, white fleshed fish for this recipe. Also, if you can't find whole fish, feel free to use fillets - just adjust the timing! Season the inside and outside of the fish with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. On a medium baking sheet or roasting pan, scatter 1/2 of the red onions on the bottom. Toss with a little bit of olive oil and salt. Place the fish on top, and scatter the remainder of red onions inside and atop the fish. Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your fish. If you're using whole fish, you'll know the fish is ready when you can easily pull the dorsal fin out.
Gently remove the skin of the fish, and filet each side. Be sure to remove any of the brown flesh (the blood line) as it has a pretty bitter taste.
Green Beans with Pickled Mustard Seed Vinaigrette
1 lb green beans, stem end cut off
Reserved vinaigrette (see recipe below)
While the fish is cooking (near the end of the cooking time) begin working on the green beans. In a large stockpot, bring enough water to substantially cover the green beans to a boil. Add in a generous amount of salt, and toss in the green beans. Allow to cook until JUST tender, about seven minutes or so, and drain. Toss with the reserved vinaigrette, starting with just half, and adding more as necessary - some people like less, some like more, so it's up to you!
Pickled Mustard Seeds
1/4 cup mustard seeds
3/4 c rice wine vinegar/champagne vinegar
1/3 c water
1 T sugar
In a small sauce pan, mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir, lower to a simmer, and cook over low heat for about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Pomegranate Mustard Seed Vinaigrette
1/3 cup olive oil
2 T pickled mustard seed vinegar
1 T pickled mustard seeds
2 T pomegranate seeds
Fresh ground pepper
Sidebar: Pomegranate seeds. My girl Marty Stewart always said the best way to get the seeds out is to half it and smack it against a plate or something, but that is just a mess. Just let it be know that you will be making a mess no matter what you do with your pomegranate, so be sure to wear all black. This will stain, whether or not you've scotch guarded your life. I found it easiest to just get in there and pop the seeds of with my fingers, kind of inverting the flesh to make it easier. Don't get too frustrated, it's worth the work!
In a jar, combine all ingredients and shake to emulsify. Season to taste and set aside.
Whole Roasted Dorade with Pomegranate & Pickled Mustard Seed Green Beans
4 dorade filets
Prepared green beans
Flat leaf parsley, picked
Saba, or aged balsamic
To plate, divide the green beans evenly among four plates, ensuring that each gets a good amount of pomegranate and mustard seeds from the vinaigrette. Add a few roasted red onions from the fish roasting pan to the plate. Place one filet atop each pile of green beans and season with a pinch of salt and a quick grind of pepper. If there is any leftover vinaigrette, spoon a bit over each fillet. Finish with a scattering of fresh pomegranate seeds, a few parsley leaves, and a quick drizzle of saba or aged balsamic, if you have it!
Not only is this a beautiful dish to look at (thank you pomegranate seeds), but the flavors are wonderful as well! Dorade is a very mild fish, but the flavors combined definitely do not overpower it. Green beans always go well with a nice vinaigrette, but the combination of pickled mustard seeds and pomegranate seeds really make this dish a showstopper. There's an amazing crunch, a perfect acidity, and a nice sweetness that comes through. The best bite is definitely the last, when all the flavors have melded together, and the fish has gotten a chance to essentially soak up the vinaigrette. Lovely!