Got Garlic? Proceed!

1 Sep

Okay, well, you’re going to need a few other things, but I am positively reeking of garlic this morning.  Luckily, Dan is also reeking of garlic and is working from home (a fortunate coincidence – not a reaction to over-consumption of garlic).  I’m not sure the electrician will be thrilled when he arrives, though.

Last night I improvised a meal that turned out great.  It was cheap, healthy, and fairly simple, so I thought I would share it.

My neighbors graciously told me to go pick all their ripe veggies while they were away this week, so I came home with a basket of mystery peppers and a bunch of tomatoes.  While talking to them online, however, they warned me to “be careful with those long green peppers…we don’t know how hot they are.”  Well…one tentative taste told me that their reckless use was liable to burn our eyebrows off.  With so many of these little buggers to eat, I wondered what I should do with all of them?  I also happened to have some fresh cilantro left over from a weekend meal, plus a half a vidalia onion.  Is it any surprise I thought of salsa?

But I’m still working off those irritating vacation pounds, so a bag of chips was not an appealing salsa delivery system.  Instead, I was wondering if I couldn’t pick up some fresh catfish (cheap and low fat) during my grocery run and improvise a salsa as a topping.  When I got to the store, tragically, the only remotely affordable fresh fish was Tilapia (which I don’t love), so I opted for a bag of wild caught frozen Haddock instead – only $12 for four 1/2lb. fillets.  I thought I was probably getting a pretty sustainable fish, but reading the seafood watch list upon my return home yielded the info that very little Atlantic haddock is sustainably fished (only the small hook-and-line segment is sanctioned) so I will endeavor to do better next time.

Alas…you lose some.

Sticking with the diet, I pondered what to serve on the side that wouldn’t be starchy?  I grabbed a $1.99 bundle of green swiss chard.  Cheaper than baby spinach and with great flavor, heft, and nutrition.

Here’s what we did to prepare the meal.  We’ll call it Sassy Fish.

Salsa (prepare ahead)

1 C diced fresh tomato

diced hot pepper of some kind (Lord knows what that pepper was, but it was hot)

1 C diced sweet onion

2 Tb . chopped Cilantro

2 minced garlic cloves

Pepper and salt

1/2 fresh lime

Saute the onion and pepper until soft.  Throw into a bowl with the tomatoes, cilantro and garlic.  Splash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and refigerate.  Right before serving, squeeze the half lime over it and stir.

Mix it up and refrigerate...


I would think any white fish would work.  You could saute on the stove top, but we grilled ours on a sheet of foil coated with cooking spray, simply sprinkled with kosher salt and cracked pepper.

Swiss Chard

Cut the tough rib out of all the stalks and discard.  Bunch up the chard and slice.  Bring a pot of water to boil and throw the chard in to bubble for about three or four minutes.  Drain.  Heat a pan to medium with a little olive oil and toss in about two cloves of sliced garlic.  Lightly saute the garlic (don’t burn it!) for just a minute and then throw in the chard and lightly saute it for about a minute.

Stir the lime juice into the salsa.  Plate the fish with a generous helping of salsa on top and chard on the side.  Enjoy…and then pop some Breath Assure.

We added even more salsa, actually...

Great things about this dish?  Very healthy!  Cheap – even if you have to buy the veggies I got for free, you don’t need much.  And if you keep some frozen fish in the freezer, this could also be made with odds and ends, as the salsa no doubt could be made a hundred different ways.  The only drawback is that swiss chard doesn’t tolerate storage for even an entire day, in my experience.  But you could use spinach or any other green veggie on the side.

I see more salsa in my future.  What the heck will I do with all these diabolical peppers, otherwise?


One Response to “Got Garlic? Proceed!”

  1. Yulia September 1, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    It’s an excellent nutritious meal! Perfect for dinner – protein and vegetables. I do it the same way very often. Sometimes instead of swiss chard I use fresh baby spinach, mature spinach, broccoli, broccolini, green beans with lemon juice and garlic – the list can be long. When it comes to salsa I use haddock, shrimps, flounder (in summer).

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