It is not all pies and Mac n’ cheese molded into giant mozzarella sticks around the Sidework househould. Most of the time I try to eat healthfully.
This dish evolved out of a Pescado Veracruzano that was on the menu at a restaurant I managed several years ago. The restaurant dish featured a feared fish filet atop a bed of rice surrounded by a rich broth packed with lime, onion, olives, oregano and tomatoes. It was delicious.
So I took that idea and amped up the nutritional density by switching out the rice for quinoa and adding the ubiquitous southern california hippie brassica du jour, kale. Thus the name, Pescado Los Feliciano, after the arty-crunchy LA neighborhood where I live.
The result is a forgiving dish that is sustaining yet light, comforting yet healthful. It comes together easily for a weeknight dinner but is impressive enough to serve for company. If you are overcoming a cold, dial up the lemon and garlic and let the steamy broth carry it into your bones. This truly is a go to dish for me.
For a vegetarian version, I double the quinoa and turn it into fritters. Then serve an island of fritters in a rich vegetable stock. Pescado Los Feliciano
1 tbs butter
2 filets of a firm, white fish Halibut, Bass, Cod, or tilefish skinless, or skinned*
3 cups of good stock (seafood or chicken)
1 cup of diced white onion
3 cloves crushed fresh garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lemon cut in half and seeded
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and de-stemmed
2 cups cooked quinoa
Salt and pepper
Pinch of old Bay Seasoning
*Note on skinned filets: Cooking the fish with the skin on is fine in this preparation, I find that the skin adds a nice flavor to sauce and also helps prevent over cooking. Since this is a poach, however, the skin doesn’t stay crispy. So if I end up ith skin-on filets, I simply remove the skin just before serving.
Season fish filets with salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.
Heat 1 tbs of olive oil with 1 tbs butter in a large heavy skillet until smoking. Add fish and sear until brown (about 1 minute), flip and sear on other side. Set fish aside on a plate.
Add onions to hot skillet and cook until softened. Add garlic, oregano, and kale. Cover with lid and cook 1 minute until kale is wilted and garlic is aromatic.
Squeeze lemons over the pan and toss the lemon halves in with the greens. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan and add broth. When broth comes to a boil, add fish and any collected juices. reduce to a simmer, cover, and poach until fish is cooked through (about 3 minutes for 1 inch thick filets).
To serve, mound 1 cup of quinoa in the center of a 2 wide bowls. With tongs, surround the quinoa ‘island’ with kale and onions. Place fish filet on top of quinoa, and gently pour broth around the side of the bowl. Discard the lemon halves. The fish should rest just above the surface of the broth.
Serve with crusty bread and big spoons.