Blackened Fish with Pico de Gallo

Part of being on a budget means not going out to eat. I have acknowledged the fact and have focused on cooking. So why no cooking posts? Mostly because I completely forgot that I had a camera to take the pictures with since I used to do it with my iPhone which I no longer have. So after  a beautiful and meditative walk with my wife in a Lancaster park yesterday, I decided to take some great food pictures. What better recipe to start with than my blackened cod (though today we substituted for another white fish).

This is a blackened fish with a sweet and acidic pico de gallo and roasted potatoes. Because the pico de gallo needs some time to marinate, I suggest that you start with that as you preheat the oven. As with everything else in life, it all starts with one step, though in this case it was one slice.

Because you want to get everything into equally bite sized cubes, I suggest cutting the four sides of the tomato which will make cleaning much easier and will give you some great meat to chop. Perfection is stunning but rough is just as delicious, don’t forget it!

Once you have a cup of diced tomato, add a cup of diced onion and another of cucumber. I don’t have a picture of the onion here because at this point we suddenly realized that though we had grabbed the onions when we went shopping, we didn’t actually put them in a cart which sent us into a tizzy until my dad volunteered to go buy some. So while he did that, I cubed the cucumber.

Now one of the things that really make the flavors pop here is the cilantro. I realize that there are people out there who don’t like it so I could imagine substituting with fresh mint. If anyone tries that, please let me know how it tastes!

Once you mix this together with the white vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, ginger, cumin, orange juice, salt and pepper let it sit covered with plastic wrap. Mostly that’s just so that no bugs fly into it or it get contaminated in any other strange and unexpected way. You can almost see the flavors developing in there, I just love it.

A dish like this can be quite light so I like to accompany it with a hardy side, today I did roasted potatoes with just a little olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Tossed in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes before raising the temperature to 450 for the fish.

They get crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, absolutely delicious. Once the potatoes are tucked away in the oven, get started on your fish. Mix the Chilli powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder with the lemon juice and the olive oil and mix until a loose paste forms. Take that paste and with the back of a spoon, coat your fish on all sides. Make sure that you wipe off any moisture on the fish before doing that so it’ll adhere properly. Sear on your piping hot nonstick oven safe pan on one side and then turn over and put in the oven for 14 minutes. Be sure to take it out on time or else it might get a little overcooked.

Feel free to experiment with bold flavors, sometimes you’ll just knock it out of the ballpark.

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