JUNE 14 2012


On warm summery evenings, nothing makes me happier than a simple, healthy dinner leisurely enjoyed in the fading sunlight while the pets frolic and a gentle breeze rustles the growing garden. My drive home from work flies by as I dream of the hot grill, fresh green salad and glass of wine in my future. More often than not, my schemes necessitate a stop at New Seasons to turn them into a reality. Today I saw fish, whole, charred and crispy, served with a simple side. Maybe even multiple courses... start with a refreshing cold soup, perhaps.

I opt for the whole black cod then grab a bunch of asparagus and a couple belgian endive. Never cooked a whole cod before, but am sure if I just rub it with some charmoula and throw it on the grill it will be just fine. And vichyssoise? Never made it before either. Sounds really cool and refreshing though. Admittedly little worried about the endive. Baked lettuce covered with cheese? I know it's a classic, but it sounds strange.

reserved asparagus tips for garnish

First up, for the vichyssoise, the titular asparagus is sauteed gently with potato and leeks then simmered in homemade stock until super, duper soft. Finally, puree with plain yogurt and cream until velvety and smooth. This is supposed to be a cold soup, but right now it's steaming hot. We're never gonna eat unless I can speed up this cooling process with an ice bath.

sauteeing the essential vichyssoise veggies

cooling the vichyssoise in a makeshift ice bath

Got the soup on ice in the fridge, now to focus on the endive. The first one I cut open has some strange pit inside. Hmm... I'll just cut it out and move on. Now to caramelize the cut endive in a pan then cover with cheese and bake. All pretty easy.


Once the endive are in the oven and the soup is approaching chilled, I turn to the fish. Slathered with herby charmoula, I toss it on the grill to cook until nice and crisp. 

Time to eat! First course is the asparagus vichyssoise and it is freaking fantastic! Love it! And I don't usually enjoy cold soups that much. Hell ya, this rocks! Accented with a dollop of yogurt and a shower of black pepper, the asparagus really shines.

Now for the main course: grilled whole black cod and caramelized endive. The fish looks pretty good... crispy skinned and flaky. But, the endive worries me because it looks so greasy and overly cheesey. Fill my plate, take a couple bites and I'm done. Not. Good. The fish is slimy and flavorless. And does not pair well with the oily, gloppy endive mess. (Admittedly I realized as I was serving that cheese and fish are not a great pair... oh well.)

Well, our al fresco dining featured a home run and a strike-out. That's the way things work sometimes, though. Good thing that soup was so damn good!

cheesey endive... looks pretty good

ugh... unfortunately not. so greasy and heavy

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