Meatless Monday-Roasted Artichokes & Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

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Who says size doesn’t matter? I mean, this IS the age of supersizing. Picture thick caramelized slices of fennel and quartered artichokes, shallots and garlic, topped with a large dollop of savory Lemon Parsley Pesto.  I’ve made this dish several times and each time I’ve made the slices and wedges bigger and each time it came out better. When roasted, fennel gets sweet and delicate while artichokes deepen in flavor and richness.  Roasted garlic is creamy, and mellow enough to eat whole (yep) and caramelized shallots are melt in the mouth delicious.  These veggies are all good on their own but when combined with the pesto, made with parsley and pistachioes, divine…

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According to legend, the artichoke was created when the smitten Greek god Zeus turned his object of affection into a thistle after being rejected.  Hmmn,  anyone else wonder about the back story?   Despite this thorny beginning, artichokes are beloved and loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In fact they are number 7 on the USDA list of top 20 antioxidant-rich foods. Artichokes can be intimidating due to their spiny leaves and hairy center, which must be removed before eating.  The easiest way to prepare them is to boil or steam them whole which requires little to no preparation.  However, if you are up for five or so minutes of prep work, roasting artichokes has a huge payoff in additional flavor and character.

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Runners take note.  Fennel also has a colorful Greek history which involves you.  The ancient Greeks knew fennel by the name “marathron”, which grew in the field where one of the great ancient battles was fought and which was subsequently named the Battle of Marathon. Fennel, which was prized, was also awarded to Pheidippides, the runner who delivered the news of the Persian invasion to Sparta. Nowadays, we can’t think of marathons with thinking of running.  Fennel is an interesting plant in that every part of it is edible, from the bulb to the stalk, leaves and even the seeds, which are a popular flavoring. Fennel is wonderful raw in salads with it’s slight but distinctive anise flavor, but when roasted it becomes something entirely different but equally delicious. Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good of dietary fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate. In addition, fennel is a good source of calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron, and niacin.

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TIPS: To save time, don’t trim the pointy artichoke leaves, which is not necessary. Chefs usually do it to get rid of the sharp points on the leaves and to make it look prettier but it’s more about presentation than taste.  The artichoke stem is edible and delicious when scooped up with lemon parsley pesto, so unless you are cooking a whole artichoke and want it to stand up, don’t remove the whole stem. In preparing the fennel, keep the stem end intact so the slices stay together.  This pesto can be made with virtually any dark leafy green; kale, arugula, spinach, basil…on and on.  You can also substitute other nuts, like walnuts or pine nuts for pistachios.

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ROASTED ARTICHOKES AND FENNEL

2 fennel bulbs
2 whole artichokes
3-4 shallots (or one small red onion, cut into wedges)
8 cloves garlic (about one half bulb)
1 lemon, juiced
3 Tbsn olive oil (or olive oil spray)
1 Tbsn fresh herbs (thyme/oregano/parsley) or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

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LEMON PARSLEY PESTO

1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 cups parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmesan
1 lemon, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

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  • Pre-heat oven to 350 and oil large baking sheet. Trim fennel stems and slice each bulb lengthwise into 4 or 5 thick slices.

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  • Place fennel slices on baking sheet.

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  • Peel garlic and shallots and slice in half or quarter if large and arrange evenly in baking dish.

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  • Trim sharp artichoke leaves with kitchen shears or a sharp knife (optional).

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  • Slice artichokes in half and scoop out inner purple leaves and choke (use a melon baller if you have one)

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  • Cut each artichoke  half in half lengthwise and place in baking dish cut side up.  Spray or brush with olive oil and a drizzle of lemon juice. Spray or brush everything with olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice.  Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.

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  • Turn the artichokes over and brush the tops with olive oil

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  • Increase the oven temperature to 425 and roast the vegetables on the lowest rack for about 30 minutes, turning halfway. Vegetables should be caramelized on both sides.

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  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pesto.  Place pistachios in a food processor or blender and pulse until evenly ground.  Add the parsley, garlic, parmesan and lemon juice and pulse until blended.  While the blade is going, pour olive oil in a steady stream.  Taste and add salt, if necessary. Pour pesto into a small serving bowl.

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  • Place warm roasted vegetables on a serving platter and serve with pesto or serve on individual plates

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Roasted Artichokes and Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 fennel bulbs
2 whole artichokes
3-4 shallots (or one small red onion)
8 cloves garlic (about one half bulb)
1 lemon, juiced
3 Tbsn olive oil (or olive oil spray)
1 Tbsn fresh herbs (thyme/oregano/parsley) or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

LEMON PARSLEY PESTO

1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 cups parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmesan
1 lemon, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 and oil large baking sheet. Trim fennel stems and slice each bulb lengthwise into 4 or 5 thick slices.
  • Place fennel slices on baking sheet.
  • Trim sharp artichoke leaves with kitchen shears or a sharp knife (optional).
  • Slice artichokes in half and scoop out inner purple leaves and choke (use a melon baller if you have one)
  • Cut each half in half lengthwise and place in baking dish cut side up.  Spray or brush with olive oil and a drizzle of lemon juice.
  • Peel garlic and shallots and slice in half or quarter if large and arrange evenly in baking dish.
  • Spray or brush everything with olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice.  Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Turn the artichokes over and brush the tops with olive oil
  • Increase the oven temperature to 425 and roast the vegetables on the lowest rack for about 30 minutes, turning halfway. Vegetables should be caramelized on both sides.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pesto.  Place pistachios in a food processor or blender and pulse until evenly ground.  Add the parsley, garlic, parmesan and lemon juice and pulse until blended.  While the blade is going, pour olive oil in a steady stream.  Taste and add salt, if necessary.
  • Pour pesto into a small serving bowl.
  • Place warm roasted vegetables on a serving platter and serve with pesto

 

Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce over Roasted Fennel and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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One might think with the dearth of posts from Goodmotherdiet that I am still on vacation, or at least being very lazy.  Well the truth is that I was on a lovely vacation with our friends, Bob and Julie, in beautiful Anguilla (part of the British Virgin Islands)  where we enjoyed 82 degrees every day, long beach walks, bike rides through the countryside, yoga overlooking the ocean and mango margaritas at sunset. Yes, we were spoiled AND it was so nice to get out of the rain! I flew back several days ago, however, my suitcase, in a rogue attempt to extend it’s vacation in the tropics, stayed behind in St. Maarten.  Nestled in among my bathing suits and beach wraps was, you guessed it,  my laptop charge cord.  I had my laptop but without power it was very hard to use.  Rest assured that I do have several new recipes to post, once I get the photos downloaded and recipes written.  So stay tuned for Pasta with Parm Roasted Cauliflower and Power Greens and a Tofu Noodle Bowl.  The beauty of this guilt inspired post though is that it is really a triple whammie, three recipes that I think all work well together, but you can pick and choose at will.  Make just one or all three!

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I love this flavor combination. Halibut is a mild but flavorful fish with a really great texture that is gets crispy golden on the outside and light and flaky on the inside when pan roasted.  Served over the top of roasted fennel and creamy, smooth garlic mashed potatoes with the delicious and savory lemon caper sauce drizzled over the top of everything…heaven!  The halibut recipe is easy and fast.  The halibut cooks in about 6 minutes and the sauce takes another 5 minutes and there is very little prep work.  Add a salad and dinner can definitely be on the table in 15 minutes!  The fennel and mashed potatoes take a little longer but are totally worth it.

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I love fennel, both raw in salads and cooked, but my favorite preparation is simply roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Fennel has a very elegant taste and has a delicate but sweet flavor when roasted. If you slice the bulbs into ‘steaks’, it is a very pretty presentation too. I’ll bet you didn’t know (I didn’t either) that fennel is in the carrot family. I would not have guessed that little fun fact.  Fennel is thought to have many health benefits and has been used in natural remedies since ancient times.  It is loaded with nutrients; iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K content present in fennel all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength, so ladies in particular, take note.

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TIPS: I have written this as three separate recipes and you should be able to print them that way.  If you want to make all three (which I recommend), start by roasting the garlic and getting the potatoes boiling.  Then slice the fennel, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with spices and put that in the oven with the garlic. Finish off the mashed potatoes and take the fennel out of the oven and set aside.  Pan sear the halibut, make the sauce and dinner is served! Note:  garlic can be roasted way ahead of time and left to cool.

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PAN ROASTED HALIBUT WITH LEMON CAPER SAUCE

  • 4 Halibut fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsn butter
  • 2 Tbsn olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsn capers
  • 1 Tbsn parsley, chopped

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  • Season both sides of fillets with salt, pepper and Old Bay, if using. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat until very hot. Place halibut fillets in pan and sear for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for another 2-3.

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  • Remove from heat and loosely cover to keep warm.

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  • Lower heat and add the garlic and cook until fragrant. 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes, until thickened.

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  • Stir in the capers, parsley and lemon zest, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

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  • Transfer fish to serving plates and spoon sauce over the top.

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ROASTED FENNEL

  • 2 large bulbs fennel
  • 1-2 Tbsn olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or Italian Seasoning

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  • Remove fennel stalk and cut lengwise into thick slices.

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  • Brush or spray both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper.

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  • Roast at 425 degrees, turning once for about 25 minutes.

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GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/2 cup milk (or almond milk )
  • 3 Tbsn butter
  • salt to taste

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  • Slice top off of garlic bulb, exposing the cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil.  Bake at 425 degrees for about an hour.  Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Peel potatoes and cut them into chunks.  Boil about 20 minutes, or until very soft.  Drain potatoes and place them in a large bowl.  Squeeze garlic into potatoes and puree using a potato masher or food processor.
  • Add milk, butter and salt and pulse or stir to combine.

 

Pan Roasted Haliut with Lemon Caper Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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PAN ROASTED HALIBUT WITH LEMON CAPER SAUCE

  • 4 Halibut fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsn butter
  • 2 Tbsn olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsn capers
  • 1 Tbsn parsley, chopped
  • Season both sides of fillets with salt, pepper and Old Bay, if using. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat until very hot.
  • Place halibut fillets in pan and sear for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for another 2-3.
  • Remove from heat and loosely cover to keep warm.
  • Lower heat and add the garlic and cook until fragrant. 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes, until thickened.
  • Stir in the capers, parsley and lemon zest, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  • Transfer to serving plates and spoon sauce over the top.

Roasted Fennel

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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ROASTED FENNEL

  • 2 large bulbs fennel
  • 1-2 Tbsn olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or Italian Seasoning
  • Remove fennel stalk and cut lengwise into thick slices.
  • Brush or spray both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Roast at 425 degrees, turning once for about 25 minutes.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/2 cup milk (or almond milk )
  • 3 Tbsn butter
  • salt to taste
  • Slice top off of garlic bulb, exposing the cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil.  Bake at 425 degrees for about an hour.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Peel potatoes and cut them into chunks.  Boil about 20 minutes, or until very soft.
  • Drain potatoes and place them in a large bowl.  Squeeze garlic into potatoes and puree using a potato masher or food processor.
  • Add milk, butter and salt and stir to combine.

Wheatless Wednesday – Roasted Cod with Fennel, Potatoes and Rainbow Carrots

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What do you make for dinner when you haven’t been to the market in days?  I found myself home the other day with just my youngest son, Jackson, who would no doubt wander into the kitchen around dinner time with high hopes of something delicious bubbling away on my stove, thus saving him a trip to a local takeout place.  Looking around my kitchen for ideas, I found my pantry to be a bit bare.  It’s still taken a hit from having everyone around for the holidays and I have yet to properly restock.  I’m also at the end of my first CSA box and have only a few remaining rainbow carrots and a large bulb of fennel plus a bag of mixed baby potatoes sitting on my counter that I had purchased at the market.  So I immediately thought of roasting the vegetables which gives them a wonderful caramelyness (I know, not a word).  That right there would be enough for me for dinner , maybe with a small bowl of spiced plain yogurt to dip them in, but perhaps not a 20 year old on a muscle quest who goes to the gym every day.  Luckily, I remembered buying a large bag of individually flash frozen, wild caught cod fillets and quickly had two defrosting on the counter. Surprisingly, they were completely defrosted in less than an hour. I could have easily sped up the defrosting process by placing the frozen fish (in their plastic bags) in a bowl of cool water but I had plenty of time, this time.  I threw in garlic, spices and a drizzle of olive oil then topped with lemon zest for quite a nice little dinner for two.  Not bad considering I never left the house to go shopping.  It pays to keep a few good veggies on your counter, like potatoes, onions and squash, that have a long shelf-life, as well as some of your favorite go-to foods in the freezer. It certainly makes life easier!

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I really love colorful foods and I’m a complete sucker for the artistic displays of veggies at supermarkets and farmer’s markets.  I can easily walk by bins of brown or yellow potatoes but show me baby potatoes in a combination of white, red and purple or carrots ranging from yellow to orange to brown and purple, and I absolutely cannot resist.  Take those tri-colored potatoes, for example.  I didn’t need them but they practically jumped out of their gorgeous display and into my cart!  Well it turns out that the more colors you eat in a day, the more likely you are to get the wide range of nutrients you need. I’m sure you have heard the term, “Eat the Rainbow”.  Check out the chart and get your food to start working for you!

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TIPS: This meal can also be made as a one pot meal.  Just roast the vegetables for 10 or 15 minutes first, then scoot them out of the way to make room for the fish.  Roast it all together for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Makes for an easy clean up! I prefer to scrub the carrots with a sponge instead of peeling, as so many of the nutrients are on or right under the skin. A good scrubbing will leave the carrot skins clean, smooth and shiny.  Larger, older carrots may need to be peeled as the skins can get bitter.  In slicing wedges of fennel, don’t remove too much of the root end or there won’t be enough core to keep the wedges together.

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ROASTED COD WITH FENNEL, POTATOES AND RAINBOW CARROTS

1 small bunch carrots (4-6)
2-3 fennel bulbs
1 lb baby potatoes (10- 12)
1 tsp chili powder
6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (divided)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning(divided)
salt and black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
4 6 oz pieces skinless cod, halibut, or striped bass fillets
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1 lemon

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  • Trim ends of carrots and cut them in half, then cut each half into 4 wedges.

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  • Trim ends of fennel and cut each vertically into 8 wedges with core attached to each wedge

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  • Slice potatoes in halves or thirds (if using larger potatoes, slice into 1/4 inch rounds) and place in a rimmed baking dish with the carrots and fennel.  You can arrange them separately or jumble them all together.

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  • Pre-heat oven to 425° F. Toss 2 tablespoons of the oil, 4 tablespoons of the garlic, the chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

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  • Roast, tossing once or twice, until golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

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  • While vegetables are cooking, prepare fish. Using a zester, peel strips of zest from the lemon. If you don’t have a zester, use a potato peeler and then thinly slice the peels.  Sprinkle zest onto the fish; reserve the lemon.

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  • Meanwhile, place the fish on a second rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and top with remaining garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with lemon zest.

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  • After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, place the fish in the oven and roast until it is opaque throughout, 10-12 minutes, turning the oven to broil for the last 3-4 minutes.

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  • Serve the fish with roasted vegetables and lemon wedges on the side.

Roasted Cod with Fennel, Potatoes and Rainbow Carrots

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 small bunch carrots (4-6)
2-3 fennel bulbs
1 lb baby potatoes (10- 12)
1 tsp chili powder
6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (divided)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning(divided)
salt and black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
4 6 oz pieces skinless cod, halibut, or striped bass fillets
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1 lemon

  • Trim ends of carrots and cut them in half, then cut each half into 4 wedges.
  • Trim ends of fennel and cut each vertically into 8 wedges with core attached to each wedge
  • Slice potatoes in halves or thirds (if using larger potatoes, slice into 1/4 inch rounds)
  • Pre-heat oven to 425° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange the vegetables and toss 2 tablespoons of the oil, 4 tablespoons of the garlic, the chili powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Roast, tossing once or twice, until golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the fish.  Using a zester, peel strips of zest from the lemon. If you don’t have a zester, use a potato peeler and then thinly slice the peels.  Sprinkle zest onto the fish; reserve the lemon.
  • Meanwhile, place the fish on a second rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and top with remaining garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with lemon zest.
  • After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, place the fish in the oven and roast until it is opaque throughout, 10-12 minutes, turning the oven to broil for the last 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve the fish with lemon wedges and roasted vegetables.

 PHOTO CREDITS:

Eat The Rainbow Chart –  DBStrength.com