Summer’s almost here and I am SO pumped about it. (In case you couldn’t tell from my Official Local’s Guide to Summer in NYC)
But in my humble opinion, the best part about summer is having people over and sharing a meal together. Preferably outside.
So tonight, I’ve put together an ALL STAR dinner part menu that will knock the socks off your guests.
And the best part is, that it’s super quick and easy. In fact, it’s fancy enough for a dinner party, but easy enough for a weeknight showstopping meal!
Plus, it’s gluten free and paleo! Not to mention — incredibly refreshing and delicious.
Allow me to introduce:
My Cucumber, Fennel and Dill Pilaf, with Lemon Broiled Chilean Sea Bass.
Let me just pause for a moment. Because this is important. If you’ve never had Chilean sea bass before…stop what you’re doing and go to your fish monger and get some. In full transparency, it is a bit more expensive than say, a salmon or a cod, BUT – HOLY COW – it is a culinary experience for your taste buds.
Imagine the most flakey, most buttery, and completely non-fishy white fish. And then multiply it by ten.
It is the fish dreams are made of.
And then – don’t sleep on this pilaf. Because it is bangin. It’s crisp and juicy fresh, paired with a nutty, chewy and crunchy grain: buckwheat! (Which, despite the name, IS gluten free!)
Here’s what you need: Serves 3-4
Fish Fillet Ingredients:
Wild, ocean-caught Chilean Sea Bass (1/2 lb per person)
1 tsp EVOO
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced thin on a mandolin
1 red pepper, diced small
1 fennel bulb, core removed, sliced thin of a mandolin
4 green onions, sliced
3 Tbsp-1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup of buckwheat, cooked in vegetable stock
Juice from 1 1/2 lemons
3 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp EVOO
Sauce pan with a tight fitting lid
Mandolin slicer (This is really important to get a really thin slice)
Good Chef’s knife (This is the one I use and love)
Small bowl to mix dressing (I used a pyrex measuring cup)
Tin foil (I use non stick and it’s a game changer)
Preheat oven to 350. On a tinfoil-lined baking sheet, lay out your fish fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the zest of a lemon, chopped fresh dill, and squeeze the juice of a lemon over it. I also topped it with thinly sliced lemons — it makes for a nice presentation. Bake for about 45 minutes, until flakey. This cooking time will vary depending one the thickness of your fish fillet.
Cook the buckwheat per package directions. (It only takes 5 MINUTES to cook!!)
Combine your veggies and fresh dill in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl (or pyrex measuring cup) combine the dressing ingredients with a whisk. Toss the veggies with the dressing. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Serve over cooked buckwheat, or serve as a salsa over the cooked fish — or both!! Super easy and SUPER YUM.
OH MY GOSH – this meal was melt-to-the-floor phenomenal. I mean, it is just ridiculous how succulent this fish is. It is SO moist and tender, flakey and sweet.
And the pilaf was SO refreshing. It was cooling and bright. The flavors and textures were outrageous. The cucumbers were fresh, the bell pepper was sweet, the onions gave it a nice bite, the fennel gave an anise-licorice flavor, while the dill and lemon were so fresh and bright and gave the pilaf a little *zing!* And then paired with the nutty buckwheat, it was “outta bounds!”
And finally, the TEXTURES! It was so much fun to eat. Crunchy, juicy, cool and crisp! If you’ve never had fresh fennel before – consider this your personal invitation. It’s AWESOME. Perfect with the chewy buckwheat and the sea bass that literally melted in your mouth.
Do yourself a favor. MAKE THIS MEAL. You will literally be peeling your guests off the floor because they will have fallen out of their chairs in sheer epicurean bliss.
Haha — maybe a little bit of an oversell, but hey — I am passionate about good food, and when I like something — I’m gonna let you know!!!! REAL DEAL RIGHT HERE!!
What’s your favorite dish to make for a summer dinner party?
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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