Here in Canada we still have snow on the ground. A cruel joke served by Mother Nature after having a mostly mild winter here in the Great White North. Back in Greece, they survived a relatively mild winter, sparing many Greeks who feared the cold with little money or means to heat their homes.
The first sign of Spring in Greece is the blooming of almond trees and soon after the wild, edible greens are young, flavourful and ripe for picking. It’s too early to pick dandelions and the like here in Canada but there’s lots of options at the market for using healthy greens in your diet.
Swiss chard, kale and spinach are found at the supermarkets, mustard greens and amaranth (vlita) can be found at Asian grocers. Use what’s fresh and affordable for this dish…very pragmatic we are!
Your choice of fish is also up to your tastes and budget. The best fish is the freshest fish and on the day I made this fish, it was halibut. Simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and served with stewed greens and chickpeas. There’s tomato paste for sweetness, some red wine vinegar for acidity and dried Greek oregano to round’out the flavour. Here’s Greek Spring on you plate!
Seared Halibut With Greens & Chickpeas
4 fillets of fresh halibut (6oz. each)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 bunches of greens (kale, swiss chard or amaranth)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups hot water
3 cups of cooked (or canned) chickpeas
salt and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
- Rinse your fish fillets and pat-dry. Drizzle olive oil on them and run all over the fish. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and place in the fridge. Trim/remove the thick stalks of your greens and rinse well or soak in a basin of water (repeat 2-3 times if necessary to remove dirt). Reserve.
- In the meantime, place a large pot on your stovetop over medium heat and add the olive oil, onions and garlic and sweat for 5-6 minutes or until translucent. Add the tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes (to cook).
- Now roughly chop the greens and add into the pot with some sea salt and cover. Allow the steam to wilt the greens for about 6-7 minutes and then add the wine vinegar, chickpeas and hot water and bring up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid ajar for another 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt, pepper and add the dried Greek oregano. Keep warm.
- Take your fish out of the fridge and allow about 5 minutes to return to room temperature. Place a large skillet on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add a good drizzle of olive oil and place the fillets skin side down and saute for 4 minutes then flip and saute for another 2-3 minutes or until the fillets are just opaque.
- Turn the heat off and remove from pan from the heat source. Allow to rest. Divide and plate the chickpeas and greens as your base then place a fillet on top. Pour some of the liquid from the greens over the fish, garnish with some scallion greens (or chives) and Greek oregano.
- Serve with a Gaia Notios Red Agiorghitiko.
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