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.
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.
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.
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