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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Almond Crusted Sole with Avocado Basil Pesto and Blood Orange, Arugula Salad

   Summer is gone....... I miss the sunshine and warmth of our beautiful yet short Canadian summer.  It is easy to feel down when summer ends here because we all know that fall is even shorter and winter comes quickly. We generally begin to look for thick, rich, comforting meals that pair so well with our brutal Canadian winter.
 I on the other hand, choose to fight the early arrival of cold fall and winter days.  How do I do this you ask? Warm thoughts!... Ahh yes, I close my eyes and think of a wonderful warm place . I go back to my roots in Sicily and dream of the sunshine , seaside and the wonderful ingredients that the sun blessed island has been given.
   Fresh fish taken daily from the coast, the almonds and oranges growing all around the island, fennel, fresh basil, arugula, avocado, lemons, extra virgin olive oil.....are you feeling warm yet?
This recipe is fairly simple.  The result is a light tasting and crispy fish, the avocado pesto is rich yet the heaviness is cut with the citrus infusion from lemon and blood oranges.  Overall this could be the perfect mediterranean summer dish but I choose to prepare it now to keep the sun and warmth on my mind as we get ready for the long, dark and cold season ahead.

4 fresh sole fillets, cut in half
1 cup, oven roasted almonds pulsed into crumbs
1 cup, panko or regular bread crumbs
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp Paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

For pesto:

1 avocado
1/2 cup fresh basil
4 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper, to taste
In a bowl, add roasted almond crumbs, panko bread crumbs, paprika, flour, salt and pepper and mix well.
Dredge sole fillets in the mixture making sure to firmly press the fillet so it is well coated.

In a hot skillet, add some oil and a little butter and saute fillets until golden brown on both sides. Approximately 2 1/2 minutes per side. Place on a paper towel lined tray until ready to serve.

In a food processor, add avocado, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and puree until thick but fairly smooth.

Ingredients for Salad:

2 cups baby arugula
2 blood oranges, segmented and juice reserved
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup fennel fronds

In a bowl, mix arugula with blood orange segments and their juice.  Add olive oil and lemon juice and toss until well mixed.
Spread avocado pesto on a plate and place sole fillet on top. Take some of the salad making sure to grab both arugula and orange segments together and place on the fish. This will allow some of the salad dressing to drizzle over the fillet and at the same time adding a some acidity and brightness to the fish. Top the fish with a good amount of fennel fronds and serve immediately
Don't let fall and winter get you down !


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