Last of the Dahlias

Having dahlias bloom through late fall is such a treat.  I love their leathery texture, their vibrant colors, their strength.  The recent early snow and a couple of frosty mornings, however, have been a little hard on them and now all that is left is their bent stalks.

 I did manage to rescue a few as it was snowing to use on one more table.

Combined with mini pumpkins and gourds they were a just right fall centerpiece.

Recently, the black square Ikea plates have been the perfect complement to other dishes or the food being served.  This time around they are on copper toned chargers bought years ago in San Miguel, Mexico.  Somehow the chargers had gotten lost in the cupboard, and I am so glad to have found them.  They won’t go hiding again!

Tonight’s dinner is an incredible Cojita-Crusted Halibut with Tomatillo Sauce from Seasonal Southwest Cooking, my new favorite cookbook.  Almost every recipe has one or more spicy peppers in it, most of which are available in the produce section.  Some of the called for cheeses may not be so readily available, but you can creatively substitute.

Tomatillo Salsa

2 jalapeños seeded and diced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 c. finely chopped red onion

8 tomatillos, husked and diced

1 c. diced bell pepper, any color

1/4 c. chopped cilantro

2 T. fresh lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let stand at least 1 hour and not more than 3 hours before serving.

To prepare halibut (8 4-6 oz. fillets), set up 3 separate shallow bowls or pans.  In the first, place the flour; in the second, combine 2 large eggs with 2 T. water; in the third, combine 1 1/2 c. bread crumbs with 3/4 c. grated Cotija cheese (Parmesan will work) and 2 t. lemon zest.  Dredge the halibut fillets in flour, then dip in egg mixture, dredge in bread crumb mixture.  Pat gently to press mixture into the fillet.

Preheat oven to 400.  Heat 3 T. olive oil in ovenproof nonstick pan on medium high heat.  Cook the fillets until golden brown, then place in the oven to roast until the centers are pearly white and opaque, about 3-5 minutes.

Serve with the salsa either beneath or on top of the fillet.

In our house, a sure sign of a successful dish is moaning.  This was a moaner for sure!  It was delicious with potatoes mashed with cheddar cheese and roasted poblano chiles.

Sharing at On the Menu MondayTablescape Thursday and Foodie Friday

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22 thoughts on “Last of the Dahlias

  1. A lovely composition of dahlias and pumpkins, beautiful !

  2. Oh your last lingering flowers are quite beautiful. They’re supposed to build an Ikea near us someday….it’s in the plans anyway.

    1. Ikea is a handy place to have nearby.

  3. What a beautiful table. I love the ikea plates – wish we had an ikea close by.


  4. A potter are you? You must show your work one of these days.

  5. I am not big on fish but have to say this looks fantastic and something I might like to try! Very creative and interesting table setting. So nice stopping by to visit with you!

    Kindly, Lorraine

  6. Entertaining Women November 4, 2011 — 8:38 pm

    Your centerpiece appeals to my potter’s heart. The organic shapes, colors, and textures are gorgeous! Thank you for inviting us to the table and for the wonderful recipe. Cherry Kay

  7. I too like the dahlias but you made me hungry with the recipe. Yummy.

  8. Your centerpiece is as warm and inviting as that fish sounds. I love southwestern flavors and can’t wait to try the recipe.

    1. …and I want to see your photo when you prepare the fish. You do a great job with food photos.

  9. Billie Marasa Keirstead November 4, 2011 — 8:37 am

    Linda, I love gourds and have many larg natural ones as well as a few I have painted and carved. However, I’d love to have a couple of those brown bottles you have paired with them. What are those and do you have any idea wherei could find some? Again, a lovely tablescape.

    1. Billie, since bottles of all kinds are among my favorite things, I’m glad you like these. They are crockery beer bottles from the late 1800’s. I found these 3 several years ago at an antique store in Camden, Maine. I will keep an eye open for more or something similar.

  10. such a charming table- so whimsical and fun.

  11. Happier Than A Pig in Mud November 4, 2011 — 5:21 am

    The dahlias are pretty and I love your birdhouse gourds-enjoy:@)

  12. Debbie C. @ Mountain Breaths November 3, 2011 — 8:23 pm

    I shouldn’t have come here hungry! That fish looks superb! I love those copper chargers. Thanks for your visit to my blog!

  13. What a pretty table! I just love those copper chargers. They are really unique. They bring such a beautiful warmth to your table. Gorgeous gourds!

  14. What a beautiful and table. The meal fits it perfectly and love those copper chargers.

  15. I love your centerpiece…the different shapes and textures of gourds fascinate me. Beautiful table…the meal looks delicious, too!

  16. A beautiful tablescape combined with scrumptious fish and salsa sounds perfect to me!…Christine

  17. Okay… that you got me starving!!! That fish looks AMAZING! But it was the lighting in you image that got me to your page. Stunning, super creative table.

  18. Moaning at dinner is always a good sign, especially when it follows complete silence as the diners are too intent on their eating to talk.

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