“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
The last few weeks haven’t been the easiest of days for some of my loved ones, both family and friends included.
Whether it was regarding troubles at work, or health-wise, for some of them it has been a gruelling time both emotionally and physically, but thankfully for them, I believe and hope that the worst is finally over. And for that I am grateful.
Some people say gratitude is really an attitude which doesn’t depend on the circumstances we’re in.
Which means, in very simple terms, that in every situation life places us in, there are things we can still be thankful for – the kind Samaritan in our times of need; the short, but sincere messages from friends and loved ones lifting us up in prayer and encouragement; the sunshine peeking through the rainstorm, reminding us that every cloud has a silver lining.
As we breathe a slight sigh of relief, believing hard and crossing our fingers the year will pick up and be full of good news and happiness, I say a short prayer for those in my life and thank God, for He is good, and will hold our hands every step of the way.
Here in Argentina, we’ve also eased into Autumn, as Summer somehow managed to slip away under our noses. I’d like to remember Summer and its glorious days with a fresh and citrusly aromatic dish.
PAYING HOMAGE TO SUMMER
Oddly enough, the beginning of autumn feels more like the end of summer, as the past few weeks of cold slowly give in to the return of a few days of sunshine and higher temperatures.
In a bid to re-live the seemingly short summer (which was cut short by a sudden fall in temperatures in the start of March), I made a trip to the supermarket and grabbed the brightest, most colorful fruits and vegetables available.
I aimed to pay homage to summer and its vibrant colors before Nature brought in it’s coldest and more subtle-toned seasons.
Armed with a new recipe from my cooking professor Pelusa Molina‘s class, I savored the array of colors and the fresh citrus aromas, as I prepared the ingredients for a fresh and light dish made with baked fish fillets.
It was as if I had stumbled straight into a fruit orchard during peak harvest time, where the air was crisp with the piercing smell of citrus fruits, sharp as day, and the fruits hang temptingly from the branches, shining and bright in their beautiful ripeness.
The highlight of this dish really is the amazingly addictive citrus & vegetable sauce, which was a beautiful complement to the fillets baking in the oven.
Once the diced vegetables were mixed together with the fruit juices and some good-quality olive oil, a taste of it was enough to send me temporarily to heaven – it was an explosion of sweet, savory and sour flavors, all uniquely separate yet somehow blended to create a taste unlike any I have ever known.
Because I so rarely use fish in my kitchen (although I adore fish and seafood), I had to carefully marinate them to impregnate the fillets with the fresh taste of grapefruit and oranges mixed with butter.
This is definitely one dish everyone has to try..and then fall in love with.
BAKED FISH FILLETS IN CITRUS & VEGETABLE SAUCE (Serves 4)
Adapted from my cooking professor Pelusa Molina‘s recipe
For the baked fish:
1) 4 white fish fillets (any type of firm white fish such as sole or forkbeard)
2) 30g of butter
3) Zest of 1 orange
4) Zest of 1 grapefruit
For the citrus & vegetable sauce:
1) Juice of 1 orange
2) Juice of 1 grapefruit
3) 2 tomatoes, de-skinned & diced
4) 1 zucchini, diced
5) 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded & diced
6) 1 green bell pepper, de-seeded & diced
7) 1 yellow bell pepper, de-seeded & diced
8) 1 garlic clove, peeled & flattened
9) Salt & pepper to taste
For the side dish (optional):
1) 4 espresso cups of uncooked long grain white rice
2) 40g of butter
3) 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1) Using a zester, scrape the orange peel and grapefruit peel into thin shreds
2) Marinade the fish fillets with butter and spread most of the shredded orange peel & grapefruit peel evenly over
3) Fold the fish fillets, leaving the non-marinaded side exposed, then add remaining citrus peels/butter
4) Chill fillets in the fridge for an hour & pre-heat oven to 200 deg celcius
5) Dice the tomatos, zucchini, bell peppers into evenly-sized cubes
6) Peel and flaten the garlic clove with the side of a large knife
7) Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for no longer than a minute, bit by bit (all except the tomatoes)
8) Combine blanched vegetables in a large bowl, and pour the orange juice & grapefruit juice over them
9) Mix the vegetables with the juices, adding salt & pepper to taste
10) Once sauce is ready, remove fillets from fridge and cover them with aluminum foil, then bake them in the oven for around 30 minutes (or until fillets are white and cooked)
11) Cook the rice according to packet instructions, and let stand for a few minutes after cooking
12) Mix cooked rice with butter and chopped parsley
13) Serve cooked fillets dressed in citrus & vegetable sauce with a side of butter-parsley rice
Using a zester, scrape the orange peel and grapefruit peel into thin shreds:
Marinade the fish fillets with butter and spread most of the shredded orange peel & grapefruit peel evenly over:
Fold the fish fillets, leaving the non-marinaded side exposed, then add remaining citrus peels/butter:
Dice the tomatos, zucchini, bell peppers into evenly-sized cubes:
Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for no longer than a minute, bit by bit (all except the tomatoes):
Combine blanched vegetables in a large bowl:
Pour the orange juice & grapefruit juice over them:
Mix the vegetables with the juices, adding salt & pepper to taste:
Once sauce is ready, remove fillets from fridge and cover them with aluminum foil, then bake them in the oven for around 30 minutes (or until fillets are white and cooked):
Mix cooked rice with butter and chopped parsley:
Serve cooked fillets dressed in citrus & vegetable sauce with a side of butter-parsley rice: