I really like the flavour combination of asparagus and oranges as well as a burnt orange vinaigrette with small pan-fried whole fish such as sardines or piper. The idea for this came together on Sunday night when, trying to decide what to make for dinner, I looked at what I’d bought from various stallholders. I’d bought piper from Jimmy, lots of asparagus from Fresh Gardens, Jason and Jillian of Fruition. I also had a bit of an orange overload from Jillian. The quantities here don’t need to be accurate.
4 piper per person or 2-3 fresh sardines, heads removed, gutted and washed (if using piper roll down the back of each so that the backbone is easy to remove once cooked)
8 asparagus per person, steamed
2 -3 oranges, peeled, all pith removed, cut into segments
Burnt orange vinaigrette
Juice of 5-6 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
Put the orange juice and zest in a small pot and bring to the boil. Simmer until the juice is reduced by about half or a little less. Remove from the heat and add olive oil, crushed garlic, pomegranate molasses and salt and pepper. You need to judge the amount of oil by tasting as you go. The quantity will depend on the sweetness, or otherwise, of the oranges. As Jillian’s oranges are on the sweet side I think I ended up with about equal amounts of oil and juice.
Whisk the dressing together and set aside while you cook the fish.
In a heavy frying pan heat a little olive oil and melt a good knob of butter. Once sizzling, toss the fish in a little seasoned flour and place them in the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds on each side.
On each plate place a handful of rocket, then add four asparagus, next four piper and finally another 4 asparagus. Put the pan in which you cooked the piper back on the heat. Pour in the vinaigrette. Let it bubble quickly for a few seconds or the garlic cooks a little and the vinaigrette reduces a bit. Spoon the burnt orange vinaigrette over the piper and asparagus. Top with a few microgreens and scatter with a few orange segments.
List of ingredients from La Cigale French Market stallholders
Piper or other fish – Jimmy the Fish
Asaparagus – Fresh Gardens, Fruition, Your Heartland Green Grocer
Garlic – Your Heartland Green Grocer
Rocket and microgreens – Fresh Gardens
Oranges – Fruition
Extra virgin olive oil – River Estate
Pomengranate molasses – Turkish Bazaar