Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Slow-roasted Tomato Salad with Chopped Egg & Caper Dressing

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Blackened Tomato Salad 1

In my search last week for a recipe using quinoa for a contribution to Make it with ... Mondays challenge quinoa, one of the first places I looked for some inspiration was Peter Gordon's book "Salads, The New Main Course", one of my current favourites.

The original recipe calls for tuna to be served on top of a quinoa, rocket (arugula), olive and blackened tomato salad, with a chopped egg and parsley dressing.  However, if you can't be sure of the source and sustainability of tuna available at your fishmonger, I urge you to use a different species of fish.  Peter Gordon suggests salmon, sea trout, mackerel or grey mullet as alternatives - I chose on this occasion to settle for a piece of bluenose.

Although there are a number of steps to this recipe, and it may seem a little complicated, it was actually really very simple, and the result was a wonderful dish.  Very fresh, light and healthy, with lots of interesting textural contrast and complimentary flavours.  The slight "chewiness" of the quinoa works nicely with the soft flesh of the fish, and the sweet blackened tomatoes, salty olives, peppery rocket, and sharp tangy capers add plenty of flavour punch.  Peter Gordon says "... this salad takes as its spiritual grandmother salade nicoise" and, although the result is an entirely different dish altogether, you can certainly see the parallels.

Although, I adapted this recipe to serve two people, this would actually be a great dish to make for a crowd and serve on a lovely big platter, and since much of this dish could be prepared in advance it makes for easy entertaining.

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Blackened Tomato Salad,
with Chopped Egg & Caper Dressing Recipe
Adapted from recipe by Peter Gordon in
Makes 2 generous servings
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

3 tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
small handful fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup quinoa, well-rinsed
2 fish fillets or steaks
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
large handful mixed olives
large handful of rocket (arugula)

For the dressing
2 eggs
small handful fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon

To make the dressing:  Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the egg, and boil for 5 minutes, drain and put eggs into a bowl of cold water and allow to cool completely.  Peel the eggs carefully (they will still be quite soft, and yolks will be slightly runny).  Put the eggs into a small bowl and break up roughly using a fork - you could chop them, but I found them soft enough to use a fork.  Add the chopped parsley, capers and olive oil.  Set aside.  Add the lemon juice just before serving.

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Blackened Tomato Salad 6

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).  Cut the tomatoes crosswise into rings about 1cm thick, and place in a single layer in a lightly oiled, shallow baking dish.  Drizzle each slice with a little of the extra virgin olive oil.

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Blackened Tomato Salad 7

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until just starting to blacken around the edges.  Remove from the oven, arrange on a plate or platter, drizzle over any of the juices from the baking dish, scatter over torn basil leaves, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle over some of the extra virgin olive oil.

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Blackened Tomato Salad 5

While the tomatoes are baking, prepare the quinoa.  Rinse thoroughly first under lots of running water.  Then put the quinoa in a small pot with 1 cup of water (basically 1/2 cup quinoa - 1 cup water), bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until all the water has been absorbed (about 15 minutes).  Remove from the heat, fluff up with a fork, and spread out on a plate to cool down.

Heat a little more olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Season the fish on both sides with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Once the pan is hot, add the fish and saute until lightly browned on both sides and cooked through.

While the fish is cooking, put the quinoa, torn up rocket, and olives in a bowl, season with flaky sea salt and black pepper, add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and gently mix together.

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Blackened Tomato Salad 4

Arrange the rocket salad over top of the tomato slices.  Top with a piece of the fish.  Add the lemon juice to the chopped egg dressing, and spoon over the top.

Bluenose Fillet with Quinoa & Blackened Tomato Salad 2

This post is a contribution to Make it with ... Mondays challenge quinoa - the linky is still open until Monday 31 January, so keep your quinoa posts coming, and don't forget to check out this week's special ingredient which is paprika.

Make it with ..... Mondays

I'm also submitting this post to Cookbook Sundays, hosted by the lovely Brenda at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen.  She's worth a visit any day of the week, but why not head over there right now and see who else has dusted off their cookbooks - you'll almost certainly find some great recipes, and maybe you'll discover a new book you'd like to add to your collection.

cookbook sundays

I'm also submitting this post to the Hearth & Soul blog hop.


  1. This sounds wonderful, I had a main dish salad last night...need to do more of this!

  2. I don't think I've ever had bluenose but I like what I see. The whole dish, salad, bluenose and all looks delicious.

  3. I adore quinoa and really need to cook with it more! Love that you used sustainable fish...I bet that made this taste that much better!

  4. That tomato salad is calling my name! Going to be a long wait til tomato season.

  5. I really love quinoa and always looking for a new recipe. This looks delicious, Sue.

  6. Looks delicious! I have never tried quinoa. Unable to find quinoa, but I still have another week! This is another challenge for me to try something new! Thank you!

  7. Thanks Pam - main dish salads are hands-down my favourite meal :-)

    Thanks Nisrine - bluenose is a firm-fleshed white fish. I don't think it is unique to New Zealand, but it is certainly a southern hemisphere fish.

    Hi Joanne - yes, I need to use quinoa more often, and these challenge has definitely made me more aware of that. We are very lucky here in New Zealand, that our fisheries are very strictly controlled and managed and with bottom trawling now banned in large areas of the New Zealand fishing zone. The good news about that is that we can go into any fishmonger and just ask if the fish we want is from New Zealand and if it is we know that it is sustainable.

    Hi MM - oh I remember that feeling in the winter of just longing for fresh, juicy tomatoes.

    Thanks so much Louanne - I hope you give this a try.

    Hi kitchen flavours - quinoa is delicious - though many people don't like it the first time they try it, because they don't realise they have to rinse it well first to remove the bitterness. I'm not sure how successful you would be at finding quinoa where you are - though you can probably source it online from somewhere like Amazon.

    Sue :-)

  8. LOVE quinoa!! I can't wait to give it a try.

  9. That looks wonderful! I'd love to try it! :)

  10. Hi Mary - hope you enjoy it :-)

    Thanks Sheila - I do hope you give it a try :-)


  11. I love quinoa in anything and if I ate meat I'm sure I would love this too :). Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  12. I love the multi-layered meals that you make, but more importantly I love that the flavors are multi-layered and vibrant. It is always a lovely food adventure to visit here.

  13. Now you caught me. I have no idea what a bluenose fish is or how it looks like. I tried to google it but I couldn't find something to make me understand. Anyway, the fish may be unknown but the other flavors you used for this salad are known and dear to me. I love the fact that is layered and the addition of this aromatic dressing I am sure increased the flavors.

  14. Lovely dish - have never seen an egg used that way in dressing, interesting. The fish looks delightful.

  15. i was so much looking fwd, my it looks way too good so that i'm confident to give it a try now ...thanks to you Sue :)

  16. Thanks for the information on Heidi and her blog. It is a wonderful blog and the information is organized as well as being inspiring. Found my quinoa recipe! This resource will help me use that big bag of quinoa I bought from Costco.

  17. That is one gorgeous and hearty looking salad!!! So many components put together to make this wonderful mixture of flavors.. delicious!!

  18. Sue, I just love main dish salads, they're perfect for me to take to work for my lunch (I get tired of boring sandwiches). I've never had bluenose before either (or quinoa) but I bet I would love it. Thank you so much for sharing with Cookbook Sundays!


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