Sunday, March 30, 2014

Citrus fennel salad + balsamic brussels sprouts + swordfish

Sometimes I love when I have random errands to run in the city, because it gives us an excuse to drive into a neighborhood that we normally don't visit.

Case in point--returning my Comcast cable box directly led to this incredible, yet completely impromptu dinner:

Sprouts, swordfish, and salad (citrus style)
How exactly does cable box --> incredible meal?? You see, about a block away from Comcast is this great little neighborhood grocery store called Stanley's. Not only is 80% of the store just fruits and veggies, it's super cheap. So we decided to stop in and just grabbed a basketfull of produce that looked good.

A big bag of Brussels sprouts for less than $2? Sold! A giant and fragrant fennel bulb that reminded me of the citrus salad I'd made years ago and had been wanting to recreate? Sold! Incredibly sweet ruby-red grapefruit and oranges galore? Sold, sold sold!

Naturally sweet citrus is the key to this fennel salad
We already had some frozen swordfish from Trader Joe's thawing in the fridge, so it took almost no time to whip together this incredibly flavorful and uber healthy dinner.

I couldn't believe it myself. Usually I'm a super planner when it comes to meals, but I have to say, the impromptu dinners often times end up being my favorite!

Buen provecho,

Citrus fennel salad, adapted from Smitten Kitchen and a previous recipe I'd made

I didn't use the mint leaves (didn't have them) or the hazelnuts (forgot to add them) but they sound like they would be delicious in this recipe so I've included them below if you'd like to add them.

1 medium-large fennel bulb, leaves and stems trimmed off
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
1/2 ruby-red grapefruit, sectioned or sliced in half moons
~1 orange, sectioned or sliced in half moons
1 small shallot, peeled and cut into paper-thin slices
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest
10 mint leaves, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

  • To prep the fennel, remove the top fronds. Slice about 1/2 inch from bottom of fennel bulb and discard. Slice the fennel bulb in half lengthwise, remove the dense core in the middle, and slice thinly using a knife or a mandoline. 
  • In a large bowl, toss fennel with the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a bit of balsamic (if using). Add shallots, olive oil, and mint/nuts (if using) and toss gently. Sprinkle with lime zest.
  • Transfer the fennel to a large platter and arrange orange and grapefruit slices on top.
  • Sprinkle with a bit of the fennel fronds and serve.
Balsamic-roasted Brussels Sprouts, from Tide and Thyme

1 lb Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed (cut larger sprouts in half)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
  • Place Brussels sprouts on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to distribute oil and seasoning evenly and flip Brussels sprouts so that cut side is facing down (if you've cut them). 
  • Roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes, flipping the sprouts halfway through baking, until sprouts are easily pierced with a knife and starting to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and serve immediately. 

No recipe for the swordfish (sorry!) The grill was acting up, so we finished it in a pan. Nothing fancy though, just salt, pepper, and oil to season the fish until done.


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