Monday, 19 May 2008

Pan fried cod with basil dressing and roasted vegetable quinoa

I am still going hard in my less-processed-food-more-vegetables-and-grains quest. One of the grains I have discovered that I really like is quinoa (pronounced keen-WAH). You cook it and use it just like rice, but it tastes earthier, and it has a different texture. It's also gluten-free which is good to remember for my father-in-law!
I'm also trying to include more fish in our diet, but I often find it hard to think of different ways to cook it. This dressing is great, because unlike a sauce, it requires no cooking, and it also means that all you have to do is simply pan fry the fish (or even cook it on the BBQ) and you still get a tasty meal that seems like it took lots of effort! I used the basil in the tube for this. I know it's processed, but I managed to kill my basil plant, and I didn't want to buy a whole bunch. The tubes are great because you can keep them in the freezer. The basil just squeezes out easily, even though it is frozen. (It's probably because it's full of weird chemicals, but I'll cope with that for now!)
You really should give this one a go. It's different and tasty and looks impressive. If you don't like fish, just use chicken. Sorry there's no photo, it all got eaten way to quickly!

Pan fried cod with basil dressing and roasted vegetable quinoa
Serves 4

4 pieces cod (or other fish of your choice, or even chicken if you so choose)

For the quinoa:
¾ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups chicken stock
Olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
1 large zucchini, diced
Pumpkin, peeled and diced (as much as you like)
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 large handful baby spinach

For the dressing:
½ tsp minced garlic (just reserve a little bit from the vegetables)
1 tbs minced basil
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
½ tbs red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200ÂșC. Place tomato, zucchini, pumpkin, garlic and thyme in a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Mix well. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked to your liking.
Place the quinoa and stock in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to very low, simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Remove from heat. Leave to stand with the lid on for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: whisk all ingredients together. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the fish.
Heat frypan to high. Spray with olive oil. Brown the fish on both sides, then transfer pan to oven to finish cooking. This will take anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on how thick your fish is. (A chicken breast will take around 15 minutes)
Once the vegetables and quinoa are cooked, add the quinoa to the vegetable pan, along with the spinach. Mix well then return to the oven for 3 minutes for the spinach to wilt.

Serve the quinoa, topped with a piece of fish, drizzled with the dressing.

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