Happy St. Patrick's Day, Irish. I hope your eyes are smilin'!
I am, indeed, a goodly amount Irish, with some Scots thrown in, and, we've been told, a smidgen of Osage, but that's never been proven. These are on my mother's side. Along patriarchal lines: warm French, cool English and a bit of Dutch round out my Heintz 57 lineage.
Still, when St. Patrick's Day rolls around, I'm Irish.
And while I haven't gone and whipped up a quintessentially Irish dish today, I did go for the green with this tasty catfish salad which matches my mood for lighter fare.
Sprinkled with organic celery salt and the crushed leaves of Claudia's Herbs Fantastic Fish Blend, the filets are quickly sauteed then placed atop a bed of crispy spring salad greens, followed by hot buttery green beans and a sprinkling of toasted, slivered almonds. A champagne and raspberry vinaigrette drizzled over and around finishes the dish.
The organic herb blend used here is a combination of lemon basil, chives, dill, thyme and celery leaves, but the flavor that comes to the forefront is the celery. Pair that with celery salt and celery really speaks out loud in this dish. Nicely so.
Where does this herbal blend come from? Claudia's Organic Herbs is a local company run by Claudia Holzinger on her family farm in Orleans, a beautiful spot on the Klamath River about 35 miles as the crow flies from our coastline. She's famous for her green and dried garlic and her produce is widely sought after by local restaurant chefs. Fantastic Fish Blend is available locally year-round and Claudia doesn't have a web site.
Celery, which is rich in vitamin C, is recognized as a blood pressure reducer and may be helpful in reducing blood cholesterol levels. It was first used for medicinal purposes by the Romans and Greeks before it was used as a food.
One of three ingredients that serves as the flavor base for many French and Creole recipes, celery is found in the Holy Trinity - onions, bell peppers and celery - and is what every good jambalaya begins with, while a mirepoix, carrots, celery and onions, comprises the beginning of many a fabulous French stew.
Weekend Herb Blogging, which orginated with the wonderful Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, is being hosted this week by Becky of Key Lime and Coconut. Click here to find out about this popular and fun weekly event.
The only thing left to do now is eat and enjoy!
Catfish Salad with Green Beans and Toasted Almonds
Drizzled with Champagne-Raspberry Vinaigrette
Christine's Original Recipes
for the vinaigrette:
1 ounce champagne vinegar
1 ounce raspberry vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
pinch kosher salt
pinch sugar (or Splenda)
several grinds black pepper
3 ounces roasted walnut oil
3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
In a glass jar or measuring cup, whisk together the vinegars, mustard, salt, sugar and pepper.
Slowly whisk in the walnut oil, then the olive oil, until the mixture is thickly emulsified.
Set aside and keep at room temperature.
For the Salad:
4 fresh catfish filets
1/2 teaspoon organic celery salt
1-2 tablespoons Claudia's Fantastic Fish Blend, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper or a good pepper medley
1 teaspoon good olive oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter (or Earth Balance)
Enough organic spring salad mix for 4 plates
1 - 1 pound package frozen, organic green beans
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
The green beans may be prepared by microwaving or steaming.
This is what I did:
Place the frozen beans in a glass dish, dot them with Earth Balance and some kosher salt, place a lid on top and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid, give the beans a stir, replace the lid and microwave an additional 4 minutes on high or until hot and tender-crisp.
Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, place a teaspoon each olive oil and butter in a skillet large enough to hold the fish filets and bring to medium high heat.
Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and sprinkle 1/2 of the celery salt and 1/2 of the herb blend and a few grinds of the pepper on one side of each filet.
Place the filets in the skillet, herb side down, and saute for about 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Flip the fish over and sprinkle with the remainder of the seasonings. Cook until the fish is done, about 4 minutes more.
Arrange the salad mix on plates.
Lay a piece of sauteed catfish on top of each salad, followed by a generous portion of green beans.
Drizzle with dressing and serve.