Can you believe we're in the middle of February, Sacramento? The daffodils in my courtyard are blooming like crazy and it was so sunny outside that I opened all the windows in the cottage yesterday. In fact the weather was so springlike that Mr.S. and I decided to do a little outdoor grilling last night. He grilled up some fresh black cod from Oto's and I whipped up some tangy roasted Meyer lemon salsa to put on top of it. Have you ever had black cod before? If not, give it a try. We love it, it's really mild not fishy tasting at all and the texture is velvety. We paired it with sauteed mushrooms (hen-of-the-woods, oyster and shimeji in olive oil and garlic) and some roasted romanesco (we can't get enough of this stuff). An easy and healthy dinner.

Roasted Lemon Salsa ("Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food From a Master Teacher," by John Ash)


2 large lemons (about 1/2 pound), scrubbed*

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or scallion (white part only)

1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or to taste

Freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste


- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

- Cut the lemons in half and pick out the seeds. Lightly coat the lemons with a tablespoon of the oil. Place the lemons cut side down in a baking dish and roast uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove, cool and cut the lemons into 1/4-inch dice.

- In a bowl, combine the lemons, the remaining olive oil, shallots, sugar and salt and stir gently. Cover and set aside for at least 3 hours so the flavors can marry and mellow. Initially, the lemons may seem a little harsh or bitter but as they sit the flavor changes markedly. Taste it a couple of times throughout the rest period and you'll see. Adjust the seasonings with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

*NOTE: Commercially grown citrus is coated with a wax that gives it a nice shine and also helps extend its shelf life -- fruits don't dry out as quickly when waxed. Although it's "food-grade" wax, none of us needs to consume it. The best way to remove it is to use a mild detergent solution and a clean pot-scrubber sponge. Rinse thoroughly, of course.
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