In addition to olive oil, many people believe that fresh fish is one of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet. Sadly, overfishing in the Mediterranean has left few native species that are still commercially viable. For the most part, fish that appears on a Mediterranean restaurant menu is probably frozen or, most certainly, farm-raised.
One should not be discouraged as there are many wonderful Atlantic sea fish that would inspire any cook. Found below is a colorful and tasty recipe from Martha Rose Schulman published recently in the New York Times for Sole with Fennel and Blood Oranges.
I recently made this delightful recipe incorporating our own California extra virgin olive oil and some corn flour from Anson Mills. It was as good as it looks, and is a great way to lift up your spirits on a dreary winter day.
Sole with Fennel and Blood Oranges
- 1 blood orange, or a Cara Cara navel orange or a half-grapefruit
- ¾ pound fillet of sole
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Anson Mills corn flour (very fine cornmeal) or all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (Gourmet Living, of course!)
- 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- Chopped fennel fronds for garnish
- Cut away the ends of the orange, stand it on end and cut away the skin and pith by slicing down the sides, following the curvature of the fruit. Hold orange above a bowl to catch juice and cut the sections out from between membranes. Cut sections in half crosswise and set aside with the juice.
- Season fish with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge in flour and tap to remove excess.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in wide, heavy skillet, preferably nonstick, that can accommodate fish fillets in a single layer. Add fennel and cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and return the pan to the heat.
- Add the remaining olive oil and the butter to the pan. When butter has begun to foam, add fish fillets, rounded side down. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the fillets release easily from the surface of the pan and are lightly colored. If the fillets are thin, check after 1 minute. Cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes, until fish is opaque all the way through. Do not overcook, or fish will fall apart.
- Carefully transfer to individual plates or to a platter. Add lemon juice and orange sections and juice to the pan and stir constantly with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Juice should quickly reduce by half or more. Spoon juice and orange sections over the fish. Sprinkle chopped fennel fronds over top and serve with sautéed fennel on the side.
This recipe has been reprinted from the New York Times, with a few minor modifications.
I hope you enjoy. My husband and I certainly did.