Citrus and fish go together like salt and pepper, so when I saw that blood oranges were in at the PCC (our local co-op), I decided to try my hand at making up my own recipe with them. I was also trying to create a light, fairly healthy sauce since we’re trying to get rid of some of those holiday pounds. That means getting flavor from everything but fat, meaning butter and cream, which I usually add to my sauces for thickening and flavor. For this sauce, I decided to use 1 tablespoon each of flour and softened butter as a thickener and to build a little body into the sauce, but still keep it low in fat since the flavor in this comes mostly from the herbs in the poaching liquid, the orange juice and the chile. A traditional beurre blanc sauce, which goes oh so well with fish, calls for 2 sticks of butter at least, so my 1 tablespoon is much lower in fat than that. The sauce wasn’t as red as I had pictured it, but it had all the fresh blood orange flavor I was looking for and my husband and I both cleaned our plates. I went a little overboard with my side dishes because I had a few odds and end to use up and I thought they’d all look pretty together. I roasted some carrots I had, sauteed beet greens and made some french lentils. I’m giving you all the recipes here and the time for all of it took me about 1 1/2 hours from beginning to end.
Serves 2, with leftovers on the lentils
The fish took 30 minutes, but with sides, about an hour and a half. (Because the fish is quick to cook, be sure you have all your sides done before you poach the fish)
Sole with blood orange sauce
(roasted carrots, french lentils and sauteed beet greens, recipes following)
1 lb sole fillets
1/2 cup white wine
3 sprigs tarragon
2 sprigs thyme
1 chile de arbol
1 medium size shallot, diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup blood orange juice (2 oranges, juiced)
1 tbsp softened butter
1 tbsp flour
-Lightly salt and pepper the fillets of sole and roll as pictured. Set aside.
-In a saute pan large enough for the fish and with a tightly fitting lid, put the wine, herbs, shallot, chile de arbol, salt, pepper and water. Over medium high heat, bring poaching liquid to a boil. Meanwhile, combine the softened butter and flour to make a paste and set aside. Adjust temperature to maintain a gentle simmer and carefully place fish in poaching liquid. Cover and poach for 7 minutes. Check fish for doneness. It should be opaque. Remove from liquid and tent with foil.
-Bring poaching liquid back to a rolling boil and reduce until you have about a cup of liquid. Remove the herb sprigs and chile and add the blood orange juice. Return to a simmer and whisk in the butter/flour paste. Simmer until thickened and saucelike.
-Put a spoonful of sauce on plate and place the fillets on the sauce. Sprinkle optional tarragon and parsley leaves on and around the fish and sauce and serve.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Put whole carrots in a saute pan with a lid. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add a splash of water and cover with lid. Place in oven and roast 20 minutes or so, until you begin to smell the carrots. They should be tender when done. These will hold in their pan for up to an hour and can be served hot or at room temperature.
1 cup french lentils
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 chile de arbol
1/4 cup red wine
2-3 tbsp freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
sea salt and pepper
-Rinse the lentils.
-Heat a medium pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in 2 tbsp of olive oil and wait a minute. Add the onion, thyme, chile, 1 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook the onion, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
-Add the lentils. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring to coat the lentils in the oil and vegetables. Reduce the heat to low and add the wine. Quickly add 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat and simmer 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
-Strain the lentils over a bowl and reserve cooking liquid. Toss lentils with the remaining olive oil, about 4 tbsp, and the parsley. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Add 1/3 -1/2 cup of the cooking liquid if lentils seem dry and serve.
Sauteed beet greens (or chard, mustard green or any green you like)
1 bunch greens, washed and roughly chopped
2 medium sized cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
salt and pepper
-Put about 2 tbsp olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened ad beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add greens, 1 tsp sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover. Cook 2-3 minutes then remove lid and stir. Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until greens are softened and tender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve hot.