Roast Fish with Cannellini Beans and Green Olives

Look close, there is a cod fillet under those lemon slices! After going to two stores, I could only find 5 oz frozen portions of cod. I would have preferred a larger filet and fussed at the meat manager about it.

The flavors of roast cod, creamy cannellini beans, lemon, chile and Castlevetrano olives are stand alone favorites in this house. Finding a recipe that brings them all together is worth celebrating!
Castlevetrano olives are green and totally different in flavor than the green Spanish olives we slip into martinis. They are worth the search and you will want to buy plenty because you will sample so many you might not have enough for your recipe.

Roast Fish with Cannellini Beans and Green Olives
4 sprigs oregano (or a scant tsp dried oregano)
1 15.5 oz cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
1/2 cup castelvetrano olives, pitted and torn
Kosher salt
1-1/2 lbs whole skinless whitefish fillet (such as cod, haddock, or halibut)
2 small shallots, thinly sliced into rings (may substitute thin sliced and coarse chopped red onion)
1 Fresno Chile, very thinly sliced into rings*
2 lemons, divide
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 300┬║. Combine oregano, beans, olives and 1/2 cup water in a shallow 3-quart baking dish; season lightly with salt. Place fish on top and nestle into beans; season fish generously with salt. Scatter shallots and chile over fish. Slice lemon very thinly and wriggle out seeds. Arrange slices, slightly overlapping, over surface of fish. Drizzle everything with oil and roast until fish is opaque throughout and flesh in the center flakes when gently pressed – 25-35 minutes, depending on the type and thickness of the fish. Let rest about 10 minutes. Press the beans down occasionally so they don’t dry out.
Cut remaining lemon into wedges and serve alongside fish and beans for squeeing over.

*Shopping in El Paso can sometimes be frustrating, but it does foster creativity. I couldn’t find Fresno chiles, so I substituted slices of red shishito peppers and about a half-inch piece of finely minced serrano pepper for heat.


Loaded Cauliflower Soup

Bacon wrapped shrimp adds a little something extra to an already satisfying loaded cauliflower soup. When the cauliflower florets were done, I picked out a few to save for garnish when serving. It’s all about plating!

Cauliflower subs for potatoes in this fall comfort supper soup.
Loaded Cauliflower Soup
6 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped leek
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chopped cauliflower florets and steams from 1 (2-1/2 lb) head)
3 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 pz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp – 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 Tbsp bacon drippings in pan, discard excess drippings.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add leek, celery and garlic to pan; cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes). Add cauliflower, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduced heat to medium. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender – about 15 minutes.
Remove 1 cup vegetables with a slotted spoon; finally chop.
Pour remaining mixture into a blender; add half-and-half. Remove center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape. Place lid on blender and cover opening with a clean towel. Process, starting slowly and increasing speed until contents are very smooth. (I use the puree setting on my 1970’s vintage Osterizer for about a minute). Return to pan with chopped vegetables and cook until warmed through – 2 or three minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with bacon, cheese and chives.

NOTE: This is a rich and satisfying soup. I felted it needed a little something extra so I wrapped peeled and deveined large shrimp with bacon and broiled them three minutes on a side (Turing once) for a tasty garnish. I allow three shrimp per serving. Without the shrimp and bacon it would still be a pretty good vegetarian soup.