Monday, January 21, 2013

Paradise Found!

My culinary journey is only at its beginning. I love to experiment with different flavor combos, ingredients, and recipes. So for Christmas this year, Cam bought me a new spice: Grains of Paradise. We watched a show, several years ago, which used this spice and we were so intrigued by the recipe. But in the years since, we haven't been able to find where to buy it (other than the on-line spice stores which became fairly expensive very quickly). I guess you could say I had pretty much given-up on the idea of trying it for myself. So when Cam surprised me with this magnificent grain for Christmas, I was say the least!!

Of course, as with any new spice or food, we had to try it; alone, just one single modicum. As we bit into the small grain, we were met with spice (similar to pepper) toned down by a very Herby/natural taste. It was unlike anything I have ever tasted! It was so deliciously unique, we couldn't wait to find a recipe that highlighted this perfect morsel! Here is what we found!

Black Cod with Lemon and Grains of Paradise

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 5-inch sprig rosemary
3 tablespoons sliced garlic chives, or 3 tablespoons chives and 1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon grains of paradise (available at Fairway and specialty food stores), lightly crushed
Grated zest of two lemons
Coarse sea salt
4 black cod fillets
Place 3 tablespoons oil in a small pan and heat over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add rosemary, garlic chives, grains of paradise, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat and reserve.
Season fish on both sides with salt. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, place the fillets in pan. Sear for 3 minutes, then turn and sear the other side until it is browned and cooked to taste.
To serve, transfer fillets to serving plates. Remove rosemary stem from reserved oil mixture, and spoon oil over fillets. Sprinkle with a little coarse salt, and serve.
(adapted from the New York Times recipe)

This recipe will hold a special place in my recipe arsenal. There was something about the herb fried oil that made it so delectable and memorable that I will definitely turn to it again when I want something on the more fancy/sophisticated side (it tasted that way, but was completely low cost, low ingredient, and low work!).I have even recommended it to, and given the recipe to, my mom and sister...definitely one I feel that is worth recreating!

*As a very brief side-note: any white fish would do. Halibut, talapia, mahi-mahi, shrimp, scallops...any light tasting seafood would be an excellent base for this recipe! I'm interested to even try chicken breast or pork tenderloin with this herbed oil...I'll let you know if/when I try that out!*

Cam and I have actually made an unwritten new years resolution...we want to try to experiment more with food and recipes. We have been looking at our cookbooks and have been trying to incorporate a new dish into every dinner. We have been successful thus far and I can't wait to share these recipes with you! This is just one of the several we've found this year and I hope you find this one, and them all, enjoyable...just as we have!

Do you have any new goals you are striving for this year? Any new food goals? How about gardening aspirations? As I continue to share with you, I'd love to hear what you are creating/experiencing/trying! Not only is it exciting for you to share, but I learn so much and also glean ideas from your new projects! So, please share with us all!!


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