Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dover Sole with Peaches & Pecans and a side of Gorgonzola Spinach

I feel like I'm betraying you. I'm the Baking Barrister, but I haven't done much in the way of baking lately. You have no idea how much this saddens me. I crave crisps and crumbles; I pine for pies and pastries; I itch for ice cream and icing; I want to bake. But I can't right now, and you should feel sorry for me. And for that matter, for yourselves, because I can't douse your screens with delicious delights. Plus, now you must brave my alliteration until I can bite into brownies. Don't worry--I promise I am trying to find tasty treats to thrill you, and to terminate this tragic typing.

Okay. Enough of that. Instead of baking, I  have been doing a lot more cooking. I make my breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day now, rarely just grabbing something random from the fridge or being fed by my dad. I find that when I make my own meals, I feel a lot more satisfied when I'm done eating. I don't know if it's because my cooking is better, or if there's something psychological going on. I'm going to go with the proposition that I'm just a better cook, mostly because it means I get to cook and everyone else gets to clean up. I will do anything not to clean up. In addition to cooking, I've been eating a lot of spinach. Today, it showed up in my breakfast, my smoothie, and at the dinner table. And you know my vegetable hating mom? She enjoyed tonight's spinach. I have always sworn by the amazingness that is cheese, but this was a real testament to its power. There was no poking or prodding or pushing it around on the plate. You heard it here first: miracles do happen. I should build a gorgonzola shrine.

I am clearly a strong believer in sugar, flour, chocolate and cheese. I also strongly believe that fruit makes fish better. This is particularly true of white fish, and in the summer. Dover sole is a very thin, flat fish that cooks quickly and has a tendency to fall apart. We made it a few weeks back and it turned to mush, so I was very careful not to let that happen again. I honestly don't know if I'd buy this variety again--I tend to prefer my fish a bit more toothy and solid, if you know what I mean. However, the topping would be wonderful on tilapia or mahi-mahi or even sea bass. The peaches are sweet and tangy and could probably be eaten just by themselves. So, at the very least, try the peaches--you won't be disappointed.

Before I let you peruse below, I need to share a story. I went to a new grocery store with my mom the other day to buy some mahi-mahi and crenshaw melon. Ringing up our order, the checker asks, "What's mama?" I look at my mom and at the screen which clearly says mahi-mahi. "You mean mahi-mahi? It's a fish." Then he proceeds to ring up with the melon. Moving it towards the bagger, he asks, "How do you cook this?" Again, I look at the screen. It says melon. "Uh, you don't? It's a melon..." Don't worry, we were good. We didn't laugh until we left the store.

Dover Sole with Peaches & Pecans
(Serves 4)

20 oz sole filets
2 large ripe peaches, peeled & sliced
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup spring onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
4 tsp. butter
4 Tbsp. chopped pecans, toasted
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Spinach & Gorgonzola
(Serves 4)

6-8 cups washed spinach leaves
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola

Fish recipe adapted from here. If using another fish, adjust quantity for proper serving size.

1. Pecans are a soft nut and easily chopped with a knife. After doing this, place in dry pan on medium heat, moving around constantly. When nuts are toasted, they will be golden and give off a nutty aroma. This takes 3-4 minutes.

2. To peel your peaches, cut them around the middle, twist and pull the halves apart. To remove the pit, hit a few times with your chopping knife. The pit should release much easier this way. Depending on how ripe your peaches are, peeling can be done with a paring knife or peeler, or may just come off easily. Then slice thinly.

3. Pat your fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, spray a large pan with cooking spray (or olive oil, if you so desire) and heat on medium. Cook fish for about a minute on one side, and then carefully flip. Cook for another 1-3 minutes, depending on how thin it is, until opaque. Remove and cover.

4. When fish is cooked, add butter to pan along with shallots. Use spatula and butter to scrap all that good flavoring off of the sides. Cook until shallots are soft and transparent.

5. Add peaches along with any juice in the bowl. Turn up heat and cook for 5 minutes until they begin to soften, stirring frequently.

6. Add in vinegar and juice of 1 lime. Stir and let simmer and cook until peaches are soft and have released their juices to produce some sauce, about 10 minutes.

7. Add green onions, cook for one more minutes, and take off of the heat.

8. Serve peaches and sauce over fish and sprinkle with toasted pecans.

9. If making spinach, while sauce and peaches are cooking, place spinach, slightly damp, in a large pan with a lid. Turn to medium heat, stirring every few minutes. When spinach begins to wilt, add cheese and mix around. Cover and let finish wilting. Cheese should melt and spread.


Mary said...

What a lovely meal. I would have never thought to use peaches with sole. I use a lot of caneberries to sauce and such but never peaches. You set me to thinking. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Maryb

Monet said...

Although I miss your baking recipes (I'm always a baker at heart) I have been loving all the cooking you've been doing. Each dish looks fresh and flavorful, this being no exception. I agree that fish is best paired with fruit, and I'm eager to give this a try once we get settled in Texas. Thanks for sharing!

Jen Cheung said...

looking at your pictures makes me remember I haven't had fish for such a long time now. I miss having filets. Maybe tomorrow? Hopefully my mother in law have fish on the menu for dinner tmr :)


Angie's Recipes said...

It's summer, and I bake less too. I wouldn't complain about being served with the fresh and delicious dishes like this. Look forward to your baking (let's say in coming autumn?) ;-)

Betty Ray said...

Oh my this looks sooo good - and pretty too. Thanks for posting it. I'll have to get a second job so I can make all these new fish recipes that have been popping up.

Island Vittles said...

is that an actual dover sole? Just out of curiousity, where did you get it? I can never find it...

most sole sold in North America is actually flounder, so I'm always interested when I see the real thing.

It looks delicious!

May Ling Wu said...

Looks like the perfect summer meal!

Jean said...

What a beautiful dish. I like all the different textures you incorporated here.

Spinach is great--we've been obsessed with it at home lately. I've actually been stir-frying it in rice and garlic and my husband can't get enough. Not really post-worthy but he seems to like it. Your spinach with gorgonzola is much more elegant.

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

Don't feel bad. Either cooking or baking, you still create something to show us. I'm sure we all like to see what you come up with no matter what. I like fish too. It's light, fast, and easy to cook. The peaches add more flavor to compliment fish. The last story is hilarious!

The Duo Dishes said...

Beautiful colors in this meal! Your photo really captures the different textures and colors. Yum.

Liv Wan said...

Don't feel sad about that. Some time it's good to have some change in your life, don't you think? I like cook different thing to make me keep my passion of cooking. Love this dover sole with peaches...:) Hope my comment can cheer you up a bit


YUM! It sounds fantastic! And don't feel bad about the lack of baking. Sometimes we just need a change of pace!

Baking Barrister said...

@Mary - I only thought of peaches b/c oranges seemed so odd. I've never actually used real cranberries--it's on my list for this fall.

@Monet - I miss my baking too. Sigh. Thanks for the compliment--and I hope you have a good trip to Texas.

@Jen - Go eat fish! It's great for the summer.

@Angie - It's too hot, yeah? It should pick up when it gets cooler. In So. Cal that doesn't happen till maybe the end of October though.

@Betty - Fish can actually be very cheap if you buy what's on sale. Tilapia is a good fish and not too pricey. We've been seeing Mahi Mahi on sale here too.

@Island Vittles - I replied via Twitter, but I'll restate here. The sign and label said Dover Sole as opposed to Sole, so the presumption is that it's real. At least, in CA, they can't label it as such unless it is authentic.

@May - totally was!

@Jean - Thanks. It did have a lot of great texture now that I think about it. I've been eating a lot of wilted spinach or stuffing things with it.

@Tanantha - I suppose you're correct. I just don't like living up to my name. And the checker was ridiculous--my mom suggested he walk through the produce aisles.

@Duo - Thank you!

@Liv - definitely have to keep it varied in the kitchen to keep it interesting. And your comment did cheer me up!

@Spicy Perspective - Thanks! I'm sort of enjoying my change of pace. At the very least I can whip up a good dinner pretty quickly these days.

The Cilantropist said...

This looks delicious, your photos are beautiful, and this post totally made me laugh out loud on several occasions. You can cook for us all you want!

And I dont know if I would have been able to contain myself at that supermarket. I probably would have laughed and pointed. Bravo for behaving yourself. :)

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

Stunning photos! Love the recipe - super unique and I bet it tasted wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

Anna said...

Oh Dear! I wonder...what that human being usually eats. Probably all in boxes and cans. Anyway...beautiful pictures it looks very yummy.

Andra@FrenchPressMemos said...

I loved your baking. Made me dream-bake vicariously through you. My BAD (Baking Anxiety Disorder) rarely is contained enough to allow me to whoop up a cake. But you are making up for the lack of baking. What a great combo! We had a braised pork dish with peaches last week (Jewish husband and all!) and found the peach to be a beautiful complement. Looks like the peaches are working their magic here too!

The Rowdy Chowgirl said...

I think I'd like to visit your gorgonzola shrine on my next vacation! I hope there are t-shirts and postcards for sale!

Chef Dennis said...

ok ok if you really feel bad for not baking, you can stop by my house and bake a cake!! but before you do whip up some of that gorgeous sole!!! wow I love the peaches, and you certainly didn't skimp on them! and spinach with gorgonzola sounds delicious! wow, all those great flavors together on one plate....That meal had to wow who ever was lucky enough to share it with you!!

baking.serendipity said...

It would have been difficult for me to make it out of the store without laughing! This looks delicious though! Surprisingly enough, I've been thinking a lot about peaches and pecans together lately too :)

Sook said...

Homecooking is fun, isn't it? I am glad that you've been cooking more at home. A great way to save money AND be healthy. :)

Magic of Spice said...

Oh my...Love this dish, just perfect flavors :) Crazy about the gorgonzola here... delightful!

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