Orange, tomato join flavors for a delicious dish

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The first time I ever tasted oranges and tomatoes together was in Atlanta, Ga. in 1990. It was totally by accident or fate, whichever you want to call it.  As the first vice-president of the League of Women Voters for Georgia, I was attending a pitch-in luncheon meeting. If my memory serves me right, it was basically a salad luncheon.  I don’t even recall what salad I took, actually, I probably took dessert.

I filled my plate with a salad containing tomatoes and the typical salad vegetables, and then I chose another salad that contained mandarin oranges with a Champagne Vinaigrette dressing.  These two salads were placed side by side on my plate, which eventually caused them to intermingle. When that happened, it was like an explosion of divine flavor colliding in my mouth. I actually had mixed a bite of the tomato salad with a bite of the orange salad. What did I do next? I went right into the buffet and purposely placed those two salads together on my plate, as if they were one salad, just to make sure of what I had discovered. I have been in love with those two combinations ever since, especially with the Champagne Vinaigrette dressing. Just try it sometime, it is awesome.

Recently, my cousin Jim, from California, called me about a fish dish he had prepared that he thoroughly loved and e-mailed me the recipe. He called me again the night before I wrote this column, to check if I had indeed prepared his special dish. I was so guilty because I had not yet done it.  “I will tomorrow,” I promised him.  This is tomorrow, and I did it.  You, too, have to try this recipe.  The best part, it contains my favorite food combo — tomatoes and oranges. All I can say is, “Awesome.” So now I give you:

Cousin Jimmie’s
Orange-Tomato Cod

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup green pepper, diced

2 tbsp. grated orange zest

12 ounces, canned mandarin oranges, drained

1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used  a quart of my canned tomatoes)

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 pounds cod fillets, cut in half (I had to use frozen cod that I slightly defrosted)

Dried dill for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, until onions are softened. Add in the diced green pepper, orange zest, orange segments, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Once the sauce cooks for 10 minutes, add the fish to the pan. Be sure and spoon the sauce over the fish.  Cover and cook for an additional 7 minutes (use your timer), until the fish is just cooked through.  Garnish with dill.

I served this dish with a fresh garden salad, steamed spinach and baked potato. The recipe serves 4-6 people, but the sauce could be reserved for another meal. Perhaps with chicken or shrimp.

The entire meal was delicious, and very healthy. I am sorry for giving you two fish recipes in a row, but I truly had no other choice. Jim and I are so close, I could not disappoint him because he was so proud of this dish. Now I must do my ‘cousinly’ duty and call him back with my most flowery compliments. He deserves it.



Lonnie Sundermeyer’s cookbook at The News-Democrat, Carroll County Chamber Office and Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service. She is a retired caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.