Summertime and the living is easy. A salad featuring summer’s bounty is a great meal option. This orzo salad topped with succulent fish and a fresh, bright and aseasonal nectarine salsa is a little different. Peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots could all be substituted. The pasta, salsa and fish can all be made in advance and assembled just before serving. Fresh summery bursts of flavor in every bite. Not a fish lover? Substitute chicken.
SEARED HAKE-ORZO SALAD with NECTARINE SALSA
2 c diced stone fruit(I used 2 nectarines and 2 apricots), peel left on, pit discarded
1/4 c diced red onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, membranes removed, finely chopped
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime
1T fruit flavored balsamic vinegar(I used pomegranate balsamic)
2 vegetable flavoring cubes added to cooking water
1 16 oz bag of orzo, cooked according to package directions, rinsed under cold water after cooking and drained
4 T toasted sliced almonds, reserved for serving( I used Trader Joe’s new honey toasted sliced almonds)
10-12 oz fillets of firm fleshed white fish such as Mahi-mahi, hake or halibut
4 T olive oil and 2 T butter if searing in a pan; light rub of olive oil if grilling
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 t ground cumin
Season fish with cumin, salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a skillet, add garlic and ginger. Pan sear each fillet, about 3 minutes per side, on medium heat, until fish is opaque and cooked through. Cool to room temperature.
On a rimmed platter, spread the orzo. Top with the fish fillets and flake those in bite size pieces, using a fork. Spread the salsa evenly over the fish. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve with extra lime on the side.