Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lentil crusted grouper with saag and lemon zest sauce

I made you something light, springy, and wonderful. Does spring make you really happy? I know I have said this in the past but I have recently discovered spring as a new favorite season. I have forgotten this lovely season in the past. I pretty much skipped it and went right on to summer. But as Blake and I were walking this weekend in 70 degrees, I turned to him and made this profound statement, "this season just makes me really happy." The flowers, the sun, and the hope spring brings with it are too wonderful. I refuse to skip it anymore.

The changes in the weather also dictate changes in my appetite. When the sun starts to warm the earth, I no longer find myself craving chili. I want lighter, brighter ingredients. This grouper is from Farm, Fork, Food, a cookbook by local chef, Eric Skokan. Skokan sources many of the ingredients in his restaurant from his own farm. As a result, his cookbook is broken down into recipes that reflect what can be sourced in Colorado in each season. Yummy, local food is close to my heart.

I love the lentil crust on this fish. Since it's just lentils and spices, it's gluten free (if that's something important to you) and crispy. The saag is made with yogurt instead of the classic cream, which makes it tangy and lighter. The highlight of this dish for me was the lemon and orange zest sauce. A little lemon and orange zest, pureed with a little sugar and olive oil are outstanding on top of this fish. Really lovely.

Lentil crusted grouper with saag and lemon zest sauce
Adapted from Farm, Fork, Food

Lentil crusted cod
3/4 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 1/2 pounds grouper
4 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon zest sauce
2 lemons
1 orange
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
5 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
3/4 of pound spinach
1/2 cup yogurt

In a blender, combine lentil, coriander, cumin, and mustard powder. Blend on high speed until a coarse powder forms. Set aside for the fish later.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel long strips of peel off the lemons and orange. In a small saucepan over high heat, cover the strips with water and bring to a boil. Drain and repeat one more time. This makes the peel less bitter. In a blender, add the peel, sugar, olive oil, and water until smooth. Set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add onion, curry, garlic, and ginger. Cook about for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion turns slightly translucent. Mix in spinach until it wilts, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Add salt to taste.

Pour lentil mixture into a flat dish. Salt both sides of the grouper. Dredge the fish on both sides through the lentil mixture. You want the fish covered. Heat 2 large saute pans over high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in each pan. Heat until the oil is hot. Crisp fish on both sides until golden brown, 4-5 minutes a side. Serve drizzled with lemon zest sauce and the saag on the side.

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