Sunday, April 25, 2010

Name that Salad!

I would rather eat this salad (or whatever you call it) than many, many things.  It's just that yummy, healthy, faaaaast and keeps me within my new/old eating less is good life.  But I don't know what to call it. So this post is one just for you.  Read, enjoy the pics, but come up with a name for this dish.  This is the day to comment on this blog! 

Before the fish story, here's one piece of this week's weather.  We had winds so high I'm surprised any grass is left (I have little), snow, rain, sleet, hail, and just about anything else.  We also had  a rainbow...

 About the fish salad:  provenance?  I've had a similar, but still different, salad at Wahoo Fish Tacos.  I think that's where the idea came from.  For almost a year, though, I've been trying all kinds of fish and vegetable combinations, and am really interested in fish cooked in vegetables.  Great thing is that it's in keeping with my cutting my caloric intake by 25%.  It's working! 

Re this recipe:  It sounds labor-intensive, but it's actually quick like a bunny.  Grill a big bunch of vegetables sometime during the week, and you'll have them ready for this salad or any other meal.
Then all you need to do is throw out some greens on a plate and cook the fish.  You can be eating in 10 minutes.  I keep individually frozen pieces of tilapia in my freezer and then I'm ready any time.  (One of my favorite lunches is grilled vegetables in a high-fiber, whole wheat tortilla..topped with a little ranch dressing and a sprinkle of grated cheese.)  Grilled vegetables are also a super starter...Just do a neat dip and you're ready to go.  A little more interesting than the ubiquitous veggie  or cheese tray. Check out my grilled asparagus post.  Ok, here it is.  What shall we call it?

Fish Salad/needs name

Serves 4

3 ea small zucchini and yellow squash, sliced horizontally and grilled*
1 large red bell pepper, sliced and grilled
2 large red onions, sliced thickly and grilled
1 medium eggplant, peeled, sliced thickly and grilled

1# medium button mushrooms
½ c sliced shallots

6 c fresh baby spinach leaves
2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and split in half, dipped in lemon juice

8 tilapia filets or similar white, firm-fleshed fish
5T olive oil, divided
1 t (or more to taste) chili powder
½ t kosher salt
¼ t fresh ground pepper

½ c light Ranch dressing, best quality
¼ c salsa

2 large tomatoes, chopped finely, optional

1 lemon, halved. ((You'll use half to squeeze and slice the other half.)

In a medium skillet, heat 1T of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots. Saute until mushrooms are golden, tossing regularly.

Meantime, divide the fresh spinach among four large plates. Divide the grilled vegetables and mushroom-shallot sauté atop the spinach, leaving room for the fish that you’re about to sauté. In the corner of each plate, place one half avocado. Set plates aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2T olive oil.** Add four tilapia (or other) filets, showering each with chili pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for about two minutes, until golden on one side. Gently turn the fish over and season second side. Cook for another two minutes or until crispy and flakey. Be careful not to overcook; this fish is done quickly. Taste a bite, if necessary, to assure yourself.

Remove fish from skillet and add two cooked filets each of two dinner plates. Repeat procedure with the other four fish filets, first adding the other 2T olive oil to the skillet.

While fish cook, mix the ranch dressing and the salsa in a small bowl or measuring cup to make the salad dressing.

After adding the last of the fish to the other two dinner plates, take the lemon half and squeeze it over each plate, making sure every element gets a bit of juice. Scatter chopped tomatoes over plates, if desired. Slice the other half of lemon and add the slices to salads for garnish. Drizzle salads with a bit of salad dressing each, and bring the rest to the table to pass.

*Another option is to oven-roast these vegetables. To do that, heat the oven to 400 F. Toss all of the vegetables with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on large baking sheet. Salt and pepper liberally. Roast about 30 minutes (to your taste), taking them out and stirring them mid-way through the cooking. If you don’t like these veg, choose others. Asparagus grills nicely. You could add tiny potatoes, too, particularly if you’re roasting the veg.  If you're really pressed for time, cut the vegetables and cook them briefly in the microwave.

**Grill the fish outdoors if you’d like. Make sure the grill-pan is well-oiled.

Two-Dog Kitchen Continues....

This week's dog stories include.........  (pics below)

    Fun with Gabby and Tucker

Gab ate pectin and part of a 5# bag of sugar out the back of the car while I delivered an article to a restaurant.   Needless to say, I had to shop again to get ready to make blackberry jam.  (Next post, maybe.) I also got to be on puke clean-up patrol all night long.  Thank goodness I have a carpet shampooer.
Tucker learned to snack on the toilet paper hanging off the roll.  He loves it, and I don't have to buy dog treats anymore.

Gab was on guard one night all night long, and barked, growled, and jumped on the bed so many times to alert me of the skunk/deer/bobcat/coyote/squirrel/robins/doves....about to attack the house that I finally just got up and stayed up.  So much for sleep.

Tucker is finally traveling with us in the car, but discovered he's not all that fond of motion, and might prefer to stay home and sleep for now on.  He lost and regained his breakfast repeatedly on Saturday.  He also put deep claw marks on the console of my brand-new Subaru Forester.   There are few words.  And all of them are nasty.  After that episode, we did take Tucker back to the house before continuing errands.  Well-behaved Gabby, on the other hand, was allowed to continue the trip.  While Dave went in to Ace to buy Thai basil (and came out with Sweet Basil, Tarragon, and German Thyme), I ran into the ARC to check on some Havilland Limoge plates.  Gabby jumped into the back of the car and ate a whole package of the high-fiber tortillas mentioned above, as well as a French roll I had bought for Dave's dinner...  We didn't know about her al fresco meal (she's so sneaky) until we unpacked the groceries, because she jumped back to the middle seat after her "lunch," and was sitting there primly when we returned.

Tucker does not like to heel, and almost killed both Gabby and me refusing to comply with commands when cars were coming.  He is now literally on a very short leash and practising more often.  He is interested in chasing leaves in the high winds we've been having.  Not much else.

Sing a new song; name a new salad, love your dogs no matter what,


  1. How about these...

    Southwest Tilapia with Grilled Veggies
    South of the Border Tilapia
    Spicy Chillied Tilapia

    Because it is chili powder with a salsa ranch dressing, it is sort of tex-mex in a way. Sounds yummy! Glad the diet is going well and the dogs are keeping you on your toes!


  2. Thanks for the ideas. I made this again last night; I'm hooked but good and am looking for variations!! Hugs.

  3. Hooked but good...oh, boy. I can't believe I said that.

  4. Over Facebook, Tracy said, "Ocean Garden Salad."

  5. Mary Pat called on the landline (after trying a sample) and said, "Pescado Ruleta." (Fish Roulette)

  6. I'm thinking "Grilled Fish Taco Salad."


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