During a recent interview for Season with Spice, one of the questions was related to my favorite food. Although I am mainly a vegetarian and eat fish occasionally (so, that would make me a pescatarian) the first dish that came into my mind was fish. Naturally, I’m biased for being from a country that has the highest fish consumption in Europe and is in the world top 5. Fresh fish is part of the Portuguese culinary tradition and is served either grilled, baked, fried, stewed or boiled. One of the simplest way to serve any fish is flavored with a good extra virgin olive oil and wine vinegar. After all, the greatest ingredients don’t need too much to shine.
So, this is probably my favorite meal. A good fish, fresh and extra smooth, served with boiled potatoes, carrots and any kind of greens, simply seasoned with olive oil and vinegar. A meal that makes me content and certainly hits the spot. Served with a good wine and I’m conquered. Luckily, we had one bottle of Portuguese wine, Quinta dos Carvalhais – Duque de Viseu 2007. Quinta dos Carvalhais is a brand specialist in Dao Region wine, known for its many awards received worldwide. The last one was a gold medal in the prestigious Vinalies Internationales, 2011, in France with Quinta dos Carvalhais Touriga Nacional 2004 Dão D.O.C, Red Wine. This Duque de Viseu is widely recognized, being awarded several times. This rich red wine with a deep ruby hue is made from a selection of grapes from Dão recommended varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro, grown at Quinta dos Carvalhais.
Both the fish and the boiled vegetables can be prepared simultaneously, as they would be cooking for about the same time. Nevertheless, I would suggest to peel the vegetables ahead to save time. Savor the meal, taste the wine (moderately) and especially enjoy a nice conversation at the table. Pleasant and satisfying.
Baked Salmon au Lime
Preparation time: 10 minutes
cook time: 20 minutes
1 fresh wild salmon slab, cleaned, with skin
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp herbes de Provence
3 Tbsp olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Peel the onion and cut into slices. Line a baking sheet with slices of onion and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the salmon slab with skin facing down on top of onion slices. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice of one half on top of salmon. Sprinkle salt and the mixed herbs on top. Peel and minced the garlic and spread on top. Brush the salmon with olive oil. Slice the other lime half and line on top.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until salmon internal temperature reaches 145 F (using a thermometer).
Side dish: Potatoes, carrots and broccoli florets.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 – 25 minutes
2 lb potatoes (I used red skin) or about 2 large potatoes per person
2 lb carrots or count about 2 or 3 carrots per person, which makes around 12 carrots (especially if you are a carrot lover, like me)
2 lb broccoli florets (I used frozen but fresh would be great)
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp herbes de provence
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Peel and wash the potatoes and carrots and cut into big chunks. Wash the broccoli and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add the potatoes and fill the pan with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and cook 5 minutes.
Add the carrots, salt, garlic and herbes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for more 5 minutes.
Remove from stove and drain all the water. Prepare the sauce: mix olive oil with vinegar and drizzle on top. Serve with the fish.