Mystery Box Challenge #4

This hasn’t happened in a long time due to lack of time and all of the holiday events but this Monday marked the 4th Mystery Box Challenge…and I was sooooo excited!!!  At 6pm Bryan and I met at QFC for him to select the secret ingredient and me to select my pantry ingredients to help complete the dish.  To my dismay he told me on the way over he is going to pick whatever fish looks best.  Fish?? Unless I am doing a simple grilled or roasted salmon or maybe fish tacos I don’t know what the heck I am doing with fish.  But fish it was to be.

The QFC seafood display was awfully slim but the fish that looked best with the best price was some fresh dover sole.  SOLE?!?!?!  Now that is really a fish I have never cooked before, and maybe have only eaten on a few rare occasions.  I asked the fish counter any recommendations they had but their recommendation of simply foil roasting it with lemon and onions was not inspiring me to create an elegant dish.  Don’t get me wrong, if this wasn’t a competition that would have probably been the route I went with this fish, but another time, another place.  The inspiration that did pop into my head and wouldn’t dismiss was the seabass dish at List.  Yes, seabass is generally a firmer, thicker white fish, but I still thought the sole fish would do quite well here.  The ingredients I added to my basket were:

  • 1.5 lbs dover sole filets
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 head curly kale
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bag of Emmer Farro (a grain like barley but nuttier in taste)
  • Cream 
  • Can of vegetable broth

And off to Bryan’s we set forth to have an hour to prep, research and cook my dish.  The pressure was on as I was unexpectedly cooking a plate for his two roommates as well.  I immediately put the water and farro in a pot to boil and then simmer as it needed 50 minutes to cook.  I added the split red bell peppers, rubbed with olive oil, to the oven to roast for 30 minutes.  I sauteed garlic and then added the kale and vegetable stock to a pan to simmer for 30 minutes.  I sauteed garlic and onion to add to the foodpressor along with the roasted red peppers and pureed that in to a creamy red sauce.  Once the farro was mostly cooked I drained the excess water and added the red pepper sauce along with paprika, salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne and let that get all creamy before finishing with just a touch of cream.  The fish came last and with little prep.  I simply cooked the sole like Grandma does bluegill.  I coated the fillets with a flour mixture of salt, pepper, paprika and a touch of cayenne before adding to a hot pan of butter and oil for about 3 minutes to each side.

After I had already taken a few bites but the final Mystery Box Challenge Dinner.
After I had already taken a few bites but the final Mystery Box Challenge Dinner.


To plate I spread a good amount of the uber creamy red pepper farro to each plate, topped the farro with a portion of garlicky kale, next added three of the sole fillets in a criss-cross fashion, a squeeze of lemon and sprinkly of parsley to finish it off.  The plate looked the best of any of the other dishes I have made (according to Bryan even) and all of the guys really enjoyed the dish.  It tasted really good, very similar to the dish that we have adored at List but also with its own variation to it.  The fish was melt in your mouth tender, the kale was cooked to just the right texture with flavor and without the bitterness and the farro was exceptional.  My first time ever really cooking any of these components but they all turned out well.  I was quite happy with the dish as I sat down with a glass of wine and the Olympics.  I don’t mind so much trying my hand at sole again, it was delicious and at a very reasonable price.

Picture coming later…


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