After a few days away, I was determined to use the remaining vegetables in the fridge before buying anymore. I did, however, buy some fresh red snapper to serve with the vegetables.
I had half a red pepper, a small piece of zucchini, half an onion, some fresh basil and spinach, which I added to some cooked orzo to make a base for the fish. The asparagus was steamed, and I used some of the sundried tomatoes and a clove of garlic to make an aioli, which was a change from the usual tartar sauce that everyone always wants!
There was also one slice of prosciutto left from something else, and I was at a bit of a loss with this one (other than just eating it, which did cross my mind a few times). I decided at the last minute to cut it into think strips and crisp it in a hot pan...yummy! Definitely doing this again.
The fish was tender and moist, and the prosciutto and asparagus added a lovely crunch. The spinach, basil, Parmesan and cooked vegetables added all the flavour needed for the orzo, and I have enough for dinner tomorrow night!
Start things off by cooking some orzo in a pot of lightly salted, boiling water. Heat the oven to 400F for the fish.
Cook the vegetables for the orzo. I used some of the sundried tomato oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper:
1/2 red pepper, cut into small dice
1/2 onion, diced
2" piece of zucchini, cut into small dice
Cook until the vegetables have softened. Turn off the heat until the orzo is ready.
Shred 2 good handful of fresh spinach, and finely chop 2 tablespoons of fresh basil. Grate 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Set these all aside.
To make the aioli, combine:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and finely chopped
salt and pepper
2/3 cup mayonnaise
Taste and adjust seasoning by adding salt, pepper, lemon juice and/or hot sauce.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Season the fish by rubbing it on both sides with some sundried tomato oil, and sprinkling with salt and pepper.
At this point my orzo was cooked, so I drained it and returned it to the pot.
the cooked vegetables
the minced basil
Taste and season with salt and pepper, adding a drizzle of olive oil just to stop the orzo from sticking together.
Stir in the shredded spinach. The heat from the pasta and vegetables will wilt it. Set aside.
Sear the seasoned fish in a hot pan, adding a bit of olive oil just to make sure it doesn't stick.
Turn it over and place into the hot oven to finish cooking.
While the fish is in the oven steam the asparagus, and cut the prosciutto into thin strips.
Add the prosciutto to a very hot pan, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent sticking and burning.
There is enough fat in the meat that no oil is needed.
Cook until the strips have turned crispy. Turn off the heat.
To serve, place some orzo on the plate, top it with the asparagus, then the cooked fish. Sprinkle the prosciutto over the plate, and add a dollop of aioli, passing extra at the table for those who want more.
- I used red snapper, as it is one of our all time favourite fish. Any fish can be used, as long as the fillet is not too thin...so stay away from sole, or anything that is cut a similar thickness. Consider cod, halibut, tilapia, salmon.
- The aioli is really just a flavoured mayonnaise, but it's a lot less hassle than making an aioli from scratch. Aioli is really just a garlic mayonnaise, so take the easy way out....the sundried tomatoes added a ton of flavour and a bit of texture. It had the right balance of spiciness and heat, as well as the acidity from the bit of lemon juice that was added, to add richness to the meal without seeming too much.
- Rubbing the sundried tomato oil onto the fish is an optional step. I did it to add a bit of the flavour from the tomatoes and herbs in the oil. You can just salt and pepper the fish before cooking it; try rubbing the fish with finely chopped herbs and lemon zest and/or garlic instead of the oil.
- The prosciutto is optional; it was more of a garnish than anything, but it was delicious, and well worth doing. However, I don't think I would go as far as heading to the store to buy some just for this!
- I served the orzo at room temperature, it can also be served cold as a salad. Add a bit of Balsamic vinegar and some more oil. Top it with sliced grilled chicken and you have a nice lunch.
- I had some aioli left and used it on BLTs for lunch today. It can be used in wraps as well.
- The aioli can also be used as a dip for grilled prawns or scallops.