Sunday, March 16, 2014

Poached Cod, Fennel, and Citrus Salad

Last week, one of my students said to me: "My greatest fear is that I'll turn 50 and look back and my life and feel like I've done nothing."  I told her that was a really good fear.

Bearing in mind that to a 15-year-old being 50 is, like, way old, I think this way of goal-setting is quite healthy.  We are taught to set goals for the future, but not to set goals about how we desire to perceive our past in the future.  Perhaps we're so future-oriented that we forget that all we have to define our selves is by our past.  If we don't take care of our future past (follow along with me), then we're really just going to hate ourselves.  As much as we'd like to think so, we don't feel accomplished or any feeling of self-worth for what we haven't yet done.  I hate this post because it's reminding me a little bit of that one guy's egotistical Oscar speech...what's his name...Matthew McConaughey (had to Google it), but it's true, and I've been thinking a lot about it.

I guess my big problem is that I never really set any goals - for the future or for the future-looking-back-at-the-past.  Sure, from a young age I wanted to be financially stable and intellectually accomplished, but other than that I was trying to keep my head socially-emotionally out of water.  So now that I've reached the mile-marker age of 30 I don't really know how to measure how well I've done, but I certainly feel like I'm supposed to be measuring something.  Have I reached my intellectual potential?  Have I traveled enough to understand (something)? Am I saving enough money?  Will my friendships be life-long?  Am I a good family member?  Will my students go on to save the world like I hope?  And most importantly, is this it?  Answers range from "kinda-sorta" to "nope."

I approached my brother yesterday about sitting down to look at my financial situation and figure out what to do with the heaps of cash over-paid and under-worked teachers get.  I knew I would have to address the dreaded question: what are your goals?  And he said something like, "Well, you can't assess whether you're achieving the goals you don't have."  I guess that's the "planning" half of financial planning.  So, here I am with no clue whether I've done much with my life at all, and no idea what accomplishments I want to look back on when I'm 50.  

Except for this: I can now look back at my life and say I made the perfect salad.  It's crazy healthy, super easy, but fancy, and is perfectly balanced between sweet and citrusy.  I'm not even going to tell you much more about it.  But, chances are, if you don't make it then your future self will have major regrets. 

Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
  • 2 fresh cod filets
  • 1 fennel bulb with stalks
  • 1 medium-sized sweet citrus fruit of your choice (I used tangelos, but oranges or blood oranges will work)
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp. salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for poaching your cod.  Meanwhile, shave the fennel bulb to the thickness you prefer (1/8 inch thickness or less for a delicate salad).  Peel and slice the citrus fruit in the shape you prefer.
Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and 1-2 tbsp. of the fine fennel leaves for the dressing.  Toss the shaved fennel and sliced citrus in the dressing.
When the water is boiling, drop in your cod filets to poach for about 4 minutes (but longer if you have large pieces).  You'll know when it's done when the fish is delicate and flaky.
Wait for the cod to cool a bit before tossing it gently with the salad.  Or, serve the salad on top of the whole filet.


  1. This recipe looks delicious AND it fits the paleo autoimmune protocol (a rare thing). So, thank you! I recently started a weekly Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable through my blog, and I would love it if you linked up this recipe. I’m trying to expand resources for the AIP community. Here’s the link:

    1. Hey there. Thanks for the opportunity to join your roundtable! I cope with lots of joint pain due to a non-specific autoimmune disorder, so I'm happy to share what might help others.

  2. This looks amazing! I love fennel, will definitely have to try this sometime. :)