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Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting Back On Track

I have been over-indulging lately.  A trip to my bathroom scale this morning revealed that it is sheer luck that the dial hasn't moved up because I have been having myself a great old time eating everything that isn't nailed down.  It's time to get back to the basics of good eating.

With the holidays coming, I need to get on track.  For me, getting on track doesn't mean a steady diet of salad and protein.  It means a nice balance of foods, just a bit lighter, say without the heavy cream and the apres dinner ice cream.  Desserts are even admissible in moderation.  I always find I can watch what I'm eating much more easily if I don't feel deprived.

Before the oven.  Look how fresh and delicious everything looks.
I recently bought Melissa Clark's newest cookbook, Cook This Now.  It's filled with delicious sounding recipes that focus on seasonably available ingredients.  As I was flipping through the October and November sections I couldn't believe how many of the recipes sounded like something I had to make now.  For dinner.  Tonight.

Tonight for dinner I made this absolutely delicious roasted blackfish dish.  Not to worry if you can't find blackfish.  I couldn't either so I made it with sea bass and it was perfect.  This would be a winner even if I wasn't paying attention to what I'm eating.  Make this.  Now.  It's a winner and if you're already on track, dishes like this one will help you stay there.

Recipe:  Roasted Blackfish with Olives and Sage
(Melissa Clark, Cook This Now, 2011)

*  As noted above, if you can't find Blackfish (also called tautog), use striped bass, sea bass, or mackerel.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (1-pound) skin-on blackfish fillets, patted dry
Kosher salt, for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
1 small bunch fresh sage
1/2 cup pitted kalamata or other olives
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Urfa or Aleppo red pepper, for seasoning
Best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil into the bottom of a baking sheet. Arrange the fish fillets, skin-side down, in the pan. Season the fish generously with salt and pepper. Tear the sage leaves into small pieces and sprinkle over the fish. Scatter the olives on top and around the fish. Drizzle the fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the fish is just opaque. 8 to 10 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and dust the fillet with Turkish (Urfa) or Aleppo pepper. Finish with a light drizzle of good oil, if desired.

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