Valentine’s Day will be here soon!
I’m sure there are many of you who relish an opportunity to enjoy a lovely dinner at a ‘nice’ restaurant on the big night, but my guy and I enjoy making dinner at home. We’ve been married almost 15 years and still have fun planning the main course together — usually something special, a little decadent and not a dish we cook regularly. And while we both toss out dessert ideas, I usually make that decision on my own and keep it a secret so I can surprise my sweet guy.
This year we decided on fish, something on the healthy side, considering all the indulging we’ve been doing with our extended holiday season (I won’t go into ALL the details, but we did cook two full Christmas dinners and collectively consume two key lime pies. . .).
So, we decided to keep it light and make one of our favorite species of fish: Cod. It’s readily available, easy to cook, flaky and really delicious.
But how to prepare this Cod? Since it’s kumquat season in Florida and I recently went to the Kumquat Festival where I picked up those little citrus gems, I decided to use them. But sometimes kumquats can be a bit sour (and a little kumquat goes a long way), so I decided to make a salsa that included sweet/colorful kiwi fruit. The two have similar flavor profiles – tangy and sweet, bright and refreshing, and I knew the orange and green colors would look beautiful alongside the fish. So I started testing. . .and here’s how the salsa looked:
As for the fish, I sprinkled on some blackening spice, placed it in a hot pan dotted with butter and olive oil, and within a few minutes, it was flaky and delicious. Testing was a success, so now this dish will be our dinner on the big day! P.S. not only is it easy to prepare, you can make it with your loved one or all by yourself on any ordinary night 🙂
Oh, if you’re curious, for dessert, I’m making something chocolatey (shhh. . .don’t tell Brendan). But if you need dessert inspiration, here are a few ideas: Orange-Infused Chocolate Covered Fruit, Poached Strawberries, Olive Oil & Orange Cake, Strawberry and Chocolate Icebox Cake, Valentine’s Day Heart-Healthy Chocolate Bark and Kumquats.
Roast Cod with Kumquat-Kiwi Salsa
- 2 6-8 oz. pieces Cod
- 1/2 tsp. blackening seasoning
- 1 tsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup pureed (or finely chopped) kumquats (3-4 whole)
- 2 Tb. minced sweet (Vidalia) onion
- 1 kiwi fruit, peeled & chopped
- 1/2 lime, zest & juice
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- 1-2 tsp. honey
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt (add more if kumquats are too sour)
- 4+ mint leaves
For the Salsa (make just before cooking the fish):
- Cut each kumquat in half and remove seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Chop finely on a cutting board OR (for ease) place kumquat halves in a food processor and pulse several times until roughly chopped (but not mushy); transfer to a mixing bowl.
- To the mixing bowl, add onion, kiwi, lime juice & zest, olive oil, honey, salt.
- Stack mint leaves on a cutting board then roll into a tight tube. Make several cuts across the tube with a sharp knife to create thin ribbons (i.e., chiffonade). Add mint to bowl, stir, taste for seasoning.
For the Fish:
- Pat dry fish with a paper towel; sprinkle blackening seasoning on both sides.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat, then add butter and olive oil.
- Place fish in hot pan. Sear about 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 1 more minute and when you see a nice brown crust, flip. Cook for 1 minute, then cover pan and reduce heat to medium/low. Cook 1 more minute, then the fish should be ready (test to ensure it's flaky and opaque). Turn off heat, transfer to a plate and serve with Salsa.