I love Mediterranean food. Then again, if you know me in person, you probably know that I love every kind of food. But, Mediterranean holds a special place in my heart. I love the fresh, bright, wholesome flavors. And of course, I love the ease of preparation and low fat generally found in Mediterranean cooking.
Whenever I have a need for something fast, healthy and simple, I almost invariably head for Greek or Italian cuisine. It’s simple, satisfying, and oh, so delicious. And lately, I’ve been working harder than usual. Yay for the holidays! Boo for the holiday shopping rushes! So, tonight, I present to you my baked sole, covered in a creamy lemon, dill and pepper sauce. I served it up alongside some delicious cucumber salad and quinoa.
I first had this cucumber salad while staying with my aunt C and her family down in California, about two years ago. It was amazing…I remember she cooked up some grilled chicken, fragrant, delicious rice pilaf and served it up alongside roasted tomatoes, and this cucumber salad. I was in love at first bite. Well, who am I kidding? I was practically head over heels just going off smell alone. It was heavenly. I’d never had anything so simple, yet so beautiful. And that, pheasants, is why I am passing this beautiful side dish along to you. It’s great on its own, or on sandwiches, with rice, or in a gyro. You can make it creamier or less so, depending on your tastes.
Lemon Dill Sole
4 medium to large sole fillets
20 large, multicolored peppercorns (or more or less, depending on how peppery you like it)
2 tbsp dried dill
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 large, rolled lemon (and zested)
1 tbsp fat free sour cream (or yogurt)
1/4 tsp sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°F (177° C) and line a jelly roll pan with foil. Spray the foil with Pam, and lay out your fillets. Crush 15 of the peppercorns in a mortar, adding in 1 1/4 tablespoons of the dill and half the sea salt. Mix it all together, then sprinkle lightly and evenly over your fillets until the mix is gone. Zest half the lemon, sprinkling the zest over the fillets. Then, cut the lemon in half and squeeze a few tablespoons over the fillets. Place in the oven for ten to thirteen minutes.
While the fish is cooking, take out a small saucepan and put it on medium. Add all the remaining lemon juice and the other half of the lemon’s zest. Add 1/2 the salt left, the sugar, remaining dill, and sour cream. Bring it all to a simmer until thickened. Taste and correct for spices, then set aside to thicken further. I made ours sweeter, because M doesn’t like the bite of lemon.
Once the timer goes off, take the fillets from the oven and set them somewhere to rest for a moment; then, plate them up, spoon the sauce over, and enjoy!
Cucumber Mint Salad
1 whole, large cucumber, ends trimmed
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 small clove garlic, minced fine
6 large or 10 small mint leaves, minced, pureed or muddled
3-6 tbsp plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
Halve your cucumber lengthwise and slice it into thin but manageable slices. Combine them in a bowl with the onion, garlic, tomato and mint. Then, add in the yogurt and mix until everything is coated. Salt and pepper lightly, tasting as you go along.
Allowing this to sit for an hour or so will deepen the flavors.