Friday, August 15, 2014

Grilled Opah with Lemon Compound Butter and Lemon & Garlic Zucchini with Mint & Feta

My favorite weeknight dinners are a piece of grilled local fish and a side salad or veggie. Something that can be thrown together quickly, is satisfying and tastes great. These two recipes adapted from Nigel Slater meet that criteria. The zucchini dish is uses fresh mint, lemon and garlic for optimum flavor--I added a bit of feta I had in the fridge for even more flavor. Local opah (moonfish) already has a rich buttery texture so the lemon compound butter enhances it and makes it a bit decadent.  

Nigel says, "Middle Eastern cooking is flecked with the cool pepperiness of fresh mint. Italian, and especially Sicilian, cooks include mint with zucchini, often in tandem with garlic and lemon. I find mint invigorating with all summer squashes and often make a dish where they (pattypan is particularly suitable) are cooked in olive oil with mint and the merest hint of garlic. It is very good with grilled fish."  

Lemon and Garlic Zucchini with Mint & Feta
Adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater
(Serves 1-2)

small zucchini (14 oz)
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil (I used 2 Tbsp)
a good handful of mint leaves
a small handful of flat-leaf parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea slat and black pepper to taste
(I added crumbled feta--about 2 Tbsp)

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and slice. Peel the garlic and coarsely chop it. Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan. Add the chopped garlic, let it fry for a minute over medium heat, then add the zucchini. Let them cook in the oil, turning them occasionally, until they are lightly golden and tender. Add the whole mint leaves and parsley leaves . Increase the heat, pour in the lemon juice, and let it bubble briefly. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Crumble over some feta.

Lemon Compound Butter
Adapted from "A Simple Sole" --Notes from the Larder by Nigel Slater
(Serves 2)

"I grate the zest of a small lime lemon into about 3 tablespoons of butter, mash in the juice (easiest to do when the butter isn't too cold), then fry the fillets in a little oil in a non-stick pan. Then I serve it with the butter melted on top.

Notes/Results: This was a fabulous dinner for a summer night. I loved the flavors in the zucchini dish--especially with the added feta. Next time I might throw on some pine nuts. Portion wise, Nigel says it serves two and I didn't weigh my zucchini, but I would consider it medium and felt like it would not be enough to feed two people--so if making for more than a single serving I would use more zucchini. (It looks deceptive in the picture because I used a salad-size plate.) The lemon compound butter was from a simple sole dinner recipe in Nigel's notes. Since I didn't have a lime on hand, I used lemon which went well with the side dish anyway. You could do this with any fish and it would be great. I will definitely make both of these again.  

It's Zest It Up! week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. You can see the of the citrus dishes the participants made by checking out the picture links on the post. 

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. Ah, to live where you do......I think I would become a seafood lover if I could get the fresh fish that you can get.

  2. That lemon butter has my stomach growling! Plus i love the simple side you paired the dish with.

  3. A delicious meal! Both the fish and the zucchini dish looks perfect together. Adding feta is a great idea. I have not heard of moonfish before, but it looks very meaty and delicious!

  4. That is a beautiful piece of fish, Deb! So many uses for a lemon compound butter. Endless possibilities really. Zucchini with feta and lemon...yum. One of my favorite ways to enjoy zucchini! Gorgeous!

  5. What a wonderful meal! That's one beautiful piece of fish and a lemony zucchini side sounds perfect with it.

  6. Couscous & ConsciousnessAugust 20, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Delicious, Deb. This is the kind of dinner that is a mid-week favourite in our house too, though not too much zucchini just yet - another couple of months before that begins to get plentiful again. Love the lemon and mint with the zucchini, and I love your addition of feta as well,which really kind of enhances the "lemoniness". Finishing off the fish with lemon butter is the crowning glory :-)

  7. Zucchini and lemon always goes well together, great dish with local fish. Unfortunately the Baltic Sea has been running out of fish


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