Saturday, August 4, 2012

You gotta stop and smell the... sole & amaranth

Why do we spend so much time... forward? There I am, in my kitchen on a Saturday afternoon. Tired yes, but for once I have more or less done what I had set out to do so far. I am going through mint and tarragon for a vegetable terrine recipe (coming soon! See? Thinking forward again) and my mind is jumping forward. What about tonight? And tomorrow? And my post about the sole filets, what is it really going to be about? Ah, this antsy-ness. I have to stop and smell the mint and tarragon.

This "living in the moment" business has been very much on my mind since I had my son. He's shown me that sometimes (if not always), life is as simple as that. And that's really what this simple little post is about. And believe me, when Pablo gets his hands on that sole, he's fully one hundred percent in the moment! And that's the point: making food, sometimes simple, sometimes more elaborate, but equally enjoyable, so we may spend at the very least a couple of meals a day in the moment, living, savoring, one bite at a time.

This is a meal we have pretty much every week, with slight variations. It is very simple, healthy and delicious, and so I thought it would be worth sharing.

Purees are great for babies, but they're good for grown-ups too. It's a great way to eat those vegetables whose flavor is enjoyable but whose texture you dislike. For example, we enjoy broccoli or celery root much more in the form of a puree than any other way. The smoothness of this puree with added microgreens flavor complements nicely the very flaky and tangy sole filets. Some puree and some fish for one perfect bite.

Dover Sole filets with Micro Amaranth puree

Age: Any potato-microgreens puree can be given from 5-6 months on (see below). I started Pablo on fish around 6 months, but I steamed the sole with the microgreens and mixed it all together. I started giving him pan-fried sole, mashed with a fork, around 10 months.

Serves 3 people

2/3 Dover sole filets* per person, depending on the size of the filets
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
2 lemons

One box (about 6 oz) of micro amaranth leaves**
One box (about 6 oz) of micro mustard greens**
3 yellow potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup milk (optional)
Salt & pepper

*The "Dover sole" sold here in California is actually not from Dover and it is not sole (!). It is a type of flounder from the Pacific. It is very thin and flaky, mild flavored, and boneless, which is so important (I hated fish as a kid almost exclusively because of the bones)
**Note that you can use whatever microgreens you find for this, they're all very concentrated in flavor, and have different health benefits depending on the green.

Place the amaranth and mustard microgreens, along with the 3 cut up potatoes in a steamer, for about 12-15 min, until the potato is cooked through.

Meanwhile, sprinkle some flour on a surface, lay the fish filets on top and sprinkle flour on top of the filets.

When the microgreens and potatoes are cooked, place the greens, one of the potatoes and half of the milk in a food processor and mix until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the potatoes (pre-mash them) and whip with a hand mixer, going up and down instead of turning (this is to prevent the puree to be pasty), adding some milk if necessary, to obtain a smooth puree of the desired consistency. Salt & pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat, and add the sole filets. Squeeze half a lemon over the filets. Once golden on the bottom, after 2 or 3 minutes, use a spatula to turn the filets over. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes each side, drizzling the other half of lemon over the filets.

Spoon the puree onto the plate and the filet of sole on top, drizzle the fish with some extra lemon, and serve right away.

Baby purees:

Microgreens puree (from 5 months): Steam 1 1/2 cup of any microgreens with 1 potato and mix, adding milk (formula or breast before 10 months) or cooking juices to obtain the desired consistency.
(This should yield about 4 x 2 oz containers to be frozen)

Sole & Microgreens puree (from 7 months): Steam 2 oz of sole (can also be salmon or black cod) with the greens and potatoes and mix as above. (Also yields 4 x 2 oz containers)

Note that I have in the past also added organic pea shoots to that mix, adds great flavor.

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  1. Really lovely thoughts, Helene. Oh, to be in the moment!

    1. Yep, that's a tough one, isn't it? Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Shanna :-)

  2. oh... i've never had amaranth leaves. what do they taste like? and I'm a big forward thinker...which I try to stop and enjoy the moment :)

    1. In micro greens form, they add almost a rootlike flavor to the puree. Worth a try. Thanks so much for stopping by! Forward thinkers unite :-)

  3. I'm going to have to look out for Dover Sole in the stores, we're stuck in the salmon rut these days. I love the micro-greens, I bought the amaranth once, but didn't have a clue what to do with it!

    1. Worth giving Sole a try, it's so much flakier and thinner than salmon, pretty much impossible to make it too dry. Thanks for visiting!

  4. All I did was eat bread today save one egg in the morning... this protein is looking sooo delicious right now! And it sounds like we have been thinking about the same thing... keeping the mind from time travelling. It's so hard. I don't spend much time in the past (thank god!) but I so, so often find myself planning, fretting, or excited to the point of distraction about the future! Cooking is such a great way to bring oneself back. Also, if I ever have kids... I am going to be asking like a million questions about what I can feed them when!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, when I read your latest post tonight, I smiled at the fact that we had had some of the same thoughts about cooking and being in the moment. And I am sure your future well-dressed kids will be very well-fed too :-)


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