01 March 2013

Herbed Lemon Oil with Avocado

Nestled in a valley just below the mountains, St. Gallen's weather pattern is at best, strange and unpredictable. But one thing is for sure; in the 8 months I have lived here, it seems like we get more rain, more fog, and more snow than other neighboring areas. The low-lying, dense fog makes itself at home for a few weeks in the late Autumn, and then the snow clouds take over from there. A full day of sunshine in the winter is rare, but the experienced take the cue and head for the mountains. There you get above the clouds and feel alive again underneath the bright, all-consuming sun. Who cares that the temperature is well below freezing. The point is to work with the season; snow shoeing, winter hikes, sledging, and skiing are at the ready.

In between our trips to the mountains, I crave nutrient-rich, immunity-boosting meals that are as satisfying from the inside-out as they are from the outside-in. This herbed lemon oil provides vitamin C from the lemon and chili, healthy fats from the olive oil and avocado, and if drizzling over fish or poached eggs, essential Omega-3 fatty acids. And did you know that tarragon has one of the highest antioxidant values of all common herbs?

The oil is great drizzled over steamed broccoli, poached eggs, roasted root vegetables, grilled Halloumi cheese, or fish. Maybe even try it over fresh mozzarella slices as an antipasti platter. This time I spooned it over a simple fish en papillote, the recipe for which I have also included below.

Herbed Lemon Oil with Avocado
Serves 2

Notes: This makes enough for 2 generous servings, but it can easily be doubled. If doubling, I suggest adding twice the amount of all ingredients except for onion and chili. Of course use your judgment, but a little raw heat goes a long way especially if you're making this ahead of time. For a less spicy version, remove the seeds from the chili before chopping.

2 Tbsp. red onion (~ 1/2 very small onion), finely diced, or 1 shallot
Zest and juice of 1 juicy organic lemon
1 small red chili, minced (or big pinch red pepper flakes)
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Handful tarragon, chopped (~ 1 small bunch)
1/2 large ripe avocado, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix first three ingredients in a small mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. The lemon juice will remove the raw bite from the onion. Whisk in oil, then gently stir in the remaining three ingredients. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

This can be made 30 minutes ahead of time and left out on the counter for flavors to combine. 

Simple Fish en Papillote
Serves 2

Notes: Salmon or a white, mild-flavored fish such as tilapia, halibut, cod, or flounder work well here.

2 fish filets, preferably sustainably raised (~1/2 lb/350 gr)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C)

Place fish filets just off center on a piece of parchment paper that is long enough to fold back over fish. Season fish lightly with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Fold parchment paper over the fish so that the two ends of the paper come together. Seal the ends by making tight folds all around, overlapping the folds as you go, to make a sealed half-moon shaped pouch. This allows the fish to steam in the oven.

Place the pouch on a baking sheet and cook in the center of the oven for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. The fish will flake with a fork when cooked.

                                     Courtesy of sodelulushiou.com

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