It’s that time of year when winter seems to be letting go of its grasp upon the terrain. The daylight sojourns longer and the trees aren’t wrapped in a constant blanket of snow. It’s that time when you start to anticipate an early spring, even though you know full well winter is not quite ready to say its farewells. And like a passionate game of tug-a-war, you go back and forth between the stronghold of winter and the up and coming burst of spring.
Instead of serving up a hot lapskus/stew or heartier fare, the plate yearns for something which resembles a longing for spring, but yet still understands its place in the winter. And this salad – a warm & substantial salad – does just that. With fish and almond potatoes from northern Norway at its center, it is dressed up in simple greens, seared radishes and fresh dill. A salad befitting of both seasons. Something to bring harmony to the in-between. Simple, yet complex. Elegant, yet rustic. Light, yet satisfying.
Sometimes simplicity is the order of the day. And sometimes simplicity can look deceiving. This dish, for example, is full of color, and a myriad of tastes, but it’s easy to make, and better yet, everything cooks in the same pan. Building flavor upon flavor. Texture upon texture. It’s a dish that will wow and impress any at your table.
Pan-Seared Fish & Radish Salad with Slow-Fried Potatoes
- 1 ½ cups (360 ml) mild-flavored oil
- 4 garlic cloves, with skins on
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.1 pounds (500 g) almond potatoes (mandelpoteter), halved lengthwise
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- Couple sprigs of fresh thyme
- 4 to 6 filets of white fish
- Sea salt
- 12 radishes, halved
- Mixed salad greens
- Handful of dill, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons reserved oil from pan
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- Salt and pepper
Add the oil in a large frying pan with the garlic cloves with skins (extra nutrients), black peppercorns, and salt. Place the potatoes in the oil, cut side down, and cook over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes or so until they are tender enough to easily put a sharp knife through, but not falling apart. Remove the potatoes from the pan, and place on a plate with a paper towel to catch any excess oil. Add the minced garlic and shallot to the pan and saute, turning occasionally, until softened for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the thyme sprigs and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the fish filets and season the tops with sea salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes without moving the filets, then gently turn them, season again with sea salt and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the filets flake easily and are opaque in the middle (you may find you need to decrease or increase the cooking time, depending on the thickness of the fish). Transfer the filets to a dish. Add the halved radishes to the pan, cut side down, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until slightly browned on the bottom.
While the radishes are sautéing, whisk together the sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil from the pan (with all those infused flavors), chopped shallot, walnuts, and thyme leaves in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the potatoes and radishes among 4 plates. Add some mixed salad leaves in the gaps and then top with a filet. Spoon the dressing over each filet, top with the chopped dill, and serve immediately.