Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Almond Crusted Striped Bass with Sauteed Kale

Today is expected to be a beautiful 70 degree day in Brooklyn, and already I'm crawling out of my skin to get out of my office and into the sunshine! When it's this beautiful out, I prefer to spend my evenings either jogging at the park or sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sipping wine or a cold beer--which means that dinner prep needs to be quick!

I came up with this meal idea one night when I had some extra fish from another meal that I didn't want to go to waste. It was late, and I'm not a fan of eating right before bed, so I wanted to make something quick yet healthy. I've always known about the health benefits of eating fish, but I also felt skeptical about the whole mercury and seafood issue, so when I stumbled upon this NPR article many of my concerns about where and how to safely obtain my omega-3's were demystified.

I decided to use kale as the side in this meal because, as I'm learning more and more, kale is a superhero of the vegetable family. It takes 15 minutes or less to prepare, whether as chips, a salad, or served sauteed or steamed, and its nutritional values are numerous: Kale is unusually high in fiber and other important vitamins and antioxidants, which can help prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. Additionally, kale promotes healthy cognitive function as well as a positive mood, making it a great brain food to boot! I literally can't get enough of it!

Sauteed Kale
1 bunch kale, cleaned and rough chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper

Preheat about 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add a dash of white wine to deglaze. Then add the kale and garlic and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the kale cooks down. Add the salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add other vegetables I have lying around, such as fresh tomatoes or red and yellow peppers. Remember, the more color, the merrier (and healthier!) the meal.

Also, if you are looking for increased health benefits from the kale, I'd recommend skipping the saute pan and steaming the kale instead. To enhance flavor, steam the kale with garlic; not only do the two pair well, but the health benefits of garlic are also through the roof!

Almond Crust
1/2 c unsalted almonds
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
zest of 1 orange

Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.

Place almonds in a food processor and process until crushed. Add flour, orange zest, and spices. Then coat both sides of each piece of fish with almond mixture.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, preheat about a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Cook for about 8-10 minutes per side, being careful not to tear the fish when flipping.

I like to serve the fish atop the bed of kale, but you can also put it on the side. Also, because I didn't have lemon in the house when I made this dish, I simply substituted orange, a decision I'd pass along to you, dear readers, as it proved to be a fresh twist on a classic fish.