Tuesday, February 14

30 Minute Meal: Valentine's Edition! "A Night in Spain"

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Uh-oh. Did you forget?! It's not too late! Grab a few things on your way home from work today, and you'll be set for a lovely night in with your love/bff/munchkin/whoever you're blessed to spend time with this evening. Hopefully they (and you) like fish, because you're about to get an easy-peasy, delicious way to prepare one of the ocean's best inhabitants: Red Snapper.
Wow, I didn't realize until just now how fitting that is for today - RED snapper for a day full of RED hearts and roses :)

So here we go. A couple weeks back, I bought red snapper for the first time. I needed it to make a Rachael Ray "night in Spain" meal I've had my eye on for a while. I finally took the fish out of the freezer and made the meal this week. It was super easy for how pretty it looks.

I can't seem to find the recipe anywhere in Rachael Ray's impressive online index of recipes, so I will give you the quick version. By the way, it's from a 30 Minute Meals episode that I have on DVD. Yes, I have a Food Network DVD, and I want more! Watching other people cook beautiful food is so much fun, and helps me stay motivated and creative in the kitchen. Now you have one of my secrets...

"A Night in Spain" Menu
-Sunset Sangria
-Spanish Spice Rubbed Red Snapper with Green Olive Salsa
-Roast Asparagus with Toasted Walnuts
inspired by Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals

First off, if you'd like sangria to go with your meal tonight, put this together before you head off to work. (Hopefully you have a bottle of red wine in the house. According to Rach, a Spanish Rioja or a Chianti is best, but use whatever you've got.)
Get out your prettiest glass pitcher, give it a rinse because it's inevitably dusty from disuse (don't we all need to get out our pretty dinnerware more often?) and dry. In the show, Rach explains that sangria works in a ratio of 3's. Here you'll see that: Pour in 3 spoonfuls of sugar, 3 "glugs" of dark spiced rum, and 3 spoonfuls of orange liqueur. Toss in 2 cinnamon sticks. Pour in enough Rioja (etc) to cover and mix these things together. Next, slice your fruit. Any combination of fruit you want or have in your kitchen works, especially leftover fruit salad. FYI, Rach used 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 freestone peach, and 1 plum. Drop fruit into the pitcher. Top off the pitcher with wine, and place in the refrigerator to "marinate" all day. By the time dinner is ready, you'll have sangria!
To serve, pour into your glasses and top off with club soda or seltzer water. Now get some Spanish music going on iTunes, and you're ready for your international culinary adventure!

Here's what you need:
One pound red snapper - with or without skin (FYI: Red snapper skin is edible!)
Spanish spice rub*
Roma tomatoes
red onion
can of green olives (or fill a container at your grocery's olive bar)
cilantro/flat leaf parsley
sea salt and black pepper

fresh asparagus

*Mix ahead of time - one palmful each of: coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, plus coarse salt and black pepper

What you do:
First, make the salsa. Seed and chop the Romas, chop the onion, slice the olives (of course pit them first if needed). Mix everything in a bowl, then drizzle with lime juice, salt, pepper, and cilantro or parsley as you like. Add some crushed red pepper if you like heat. Set aside to "let the flavors marry" - as Rach would say :)

Preheat your stovetop grill to medium-high heat. If your fish has skin, make several diagonal scores on each side. Drizzle EVOO onto both sides of the fish and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the spice rub and work into the fish (again, on both sides). Once the grill is hot, place the fish presentation (skin) side down and cook for about four minutes. Flip, cook about four more minutes, then plate (skin side up). That's it! See? Easy peasy!

Rach makes a side of steamed green beans with toasted almonds to go with the snapper, and piles everything (beans, nuts, salsa) on top of the fish. As we've learned recently, green beans are not a vegetable but actually a legume and therefore not Paleo-friendly.
As an alternative, I suggest a side of roast asparagus with toasted walnuts. You can easily work that into your dinner prep. Start by preheating your oven to 375, get the asparagus washed and trimmed and into a baking dish with a drizzle of EVOO and dash of sea salt and pepper. Just check on it a few times and give the dish a gentle shake to move the stalks around. You can toast the walnuts in a pan on the stovetop while you make the salsa. See? Easy peasy!

That's all there is to it. Plate your Red Snapper and spoon salsa on top or alongside the fish. Put some asparagus on each plate and a sprinkle of toasted walnuts. If you feel like you need more fat with the meal, add some slices of avocado to your plate. The creamy texture will be wonderful with the firm fish and salsa bites.

I know, the food doesn't look super appetizing in this photo. But hopefully it gets you in the mood for a nice candlelit dinner at home!
I whipped up this meal in thirty minutes, including mixing the rub and making the salsa, while home alone with the little one and dealing with an autoimmune flare. So no excuses! ;)
And just think: No crowds or street parking to navigate, no reservations needed, no stress. A lovely night in with a perfectly date-worthy meal, for not a lot of time or money. You can't go wrong.

I wish you a wonderful Valentine's Day. Whether you have found your life's true love or not, soak up the truth that you are dearly loved by the One who created it all. And that makes you wealthy and whole!