Friday, April 10, 2009

Rain and Oranges

Be careful what you ask for! No sooner were we talking about the balmy weather and wishing for rain than a storm moved in, giving us a wet and muddy week--much to the delight of our big farm pooch, Noches, who's never happier than when he's got lots of orchard mud to track everywhere. Luckily, the winds weren't too bad and the trees look even healthier for their spring bath.

We hope you enjoyed the spring holiday weekend. At the farm, it's a quiet time, watching and waiting for the next few weeks as the first cherries begin ripening. We can't wait to start putting our own Frog Hollow Farm fruit into your boxes, but there's no hurrying Mother Nature. Look for the first boxes of cherries to arrive in about a month. Once the season starts, though, it will bring with it a steadily growing avalanche of fresh stone fruit, from cherries and apricots through peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots.

Until, we'll be continuing on with a mix of juicy citrus, kiwi, avocados and the occasional sub-tropical treat like passion fruit or cherimoya from Southern California. This week's recipe is a fast, easy, and healthy fish-and-salsa dish, using a mix of citrus with cilantro and a bit of hot chile. You can also cut the fish into strips and serve it as a taco in warmed tortillas.

Red Snapper with Mexican Citrus Salsa

Adapted from Mark Bittman in the New York Times.
This vibrant citrus salsa makes a great pairing for simply cooked fish. Serve with sliced avocados alongside.

1 orange or tangelo
1 small grapefruit
1 lemon, preferably Meyer lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 habanero or other chili, seeded and minced, or to taste
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
4 red snapper fillets, 4 to 6 ounces each, preferably skin on

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut orange in half horizontally and cut out sections as you would a grapefruit, leaving the membranes behind; do this over a bowl to capture all its juice. Remove seeds and combine flesh and juice in bowl. Repeat with grapefruit and lemon. Stir in habanero and salt, adding cilantro just before serving.
Put oil in a nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. A minute later, add fish, skin side down; season top with salt. Cook until skin begins to crisp, 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to oven. Cook another 3 or 4 minutes, or until a thin-bladed knife meets little resistance when inserted into thickest part of fish. Serve fish with salsa, immediately.

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