Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winters Farmer Market: Fish with Avocado Relish and Carrot Puree; Rosemary Almond Orzo Pilaf

I will start with a confession.

I don't like avocados. Yes, I am from California, and I do NOT like avocados.

Ok, mash 'em up with lots of spices, lime juice, etc. and call it guacamole and we are all good.

So...why I would make something with avocado for the first time now that it is winter in Massachusetts is beyond me, but this recipe from the March 2011 issue of Real Simple jumped out at me:
Pollock with avocado relish and carrot puree (click link for recipe)

I used these amazing carrots I bought at the Somerville Winters Farmers Market from Winter Moon Farm for the purée. Something about a mixture of kalamata olives and avocado appealed to me--I can handle avocado when it is in smaller chunks--it is the slices that trouble me. I didn't have pollock, but substituted haddock from Jordan Bros Seafood (also purchased at the Somerville Winters Farmers Market).

This recipe was healthy, delicious, and colorful--and would be great for summer. I used the leftover carrot puree as a spread on some baguette (Hi-Rise) with fresh mozzarella from Fiore di Nonno (and a glass of Pinot Grigio) for lunch the following day. Yes, I think I'm definitely ready for summer...
Last night, I made smoked porkchops from Stillman's, which is the sole reason I get to the Farmer's market so early (that and the crowds). They don't have them very often, but when they do, I feel like I've won the lottery. So I picked these up a couple of weeks ago, and then found that the applesauce from Cook's Farm practically jumped into my bag, clearly attracted to those chops. Because the chops have so much flavor from the smoking, I take a very minimalist approach when cooking them--a little bit of olive oil, white pepper, maple syrup and white wine. I don't add any salt (not necessary). I served it with this

Rosemary-Almond Orzo Pilaf
(more or less really this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 and 1/2 cups orzo
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 and 1/2 cups water
  • white pepper
  • salt
  • large handful rosemary almonds (from Qs Nuts), coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
In a medium saucepan (that has a cover), sauté onions in olive oil until softened. Add the orzo, stirring frequently, until it is golden. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add salt, pepper, almonds, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover pan, simmering for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Serve and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

I actually like a little liquid left so that it is a creamy pilaf, so I stop cooking it just before the water is totally absorbed. I loved how this came out. The husband felt it needed more salt, so next time I'll probably substitute chicken broth for water.