Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 15, 2008 at 9:55am

If you’re looking to brush up on your moderation skills for the New Year (Lord knows I am, ha), I highly recommend a read (or re-read!) of French Women Don’t Get Fat, The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano. A fast, blast of a read, packed with a ridiculous amount of common sense, you’ll put the book down with a smile on your lips and a sensible (and thankfully un-American, in this case) perspective on the delights of preparing and savoring simple, real food and treating your body with respect. The Moderation Bible, as it were. C’est bon.

In that vein, I offer a couple of fish recipes, from the gorgeous Balthazar Cookbook. On the days I most fully embrace moderation, I turn to fish. I’ve said this before, I know, but it’s quick to cook, and delicious to eat, and afterward I feel satisfied and nourished and not at all weighed down. The first recipe is for Cod Mitonee, a crisp-sauteed cod filet served over a thin slice of toasted, crusty bread, floating in a simple, aromatic broth (the lovely pic is from the book). I’m quite sure the recipe would work well for any of your favorite firm, white fish.

The second recipe is also gorgeous-yet-nourishing, Warm Salad of Grilled Trout. Wilted greens under grilled fish, studded with crunchy walnuts and drizzled with tangy balsamic vinegar. Lordy.

Enjoy, ye Masters of Moderation! (Recipes posted in comments, below.)

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  1. By Stephanie on January 16, 2008 at 10:19PM

    Hello Whatsername! I love the book's illustrations, I was just admiring them today, in fact. I've never looked at the artist's website, great idea. So chic!

    As is your website! You're a "real" writer, I'm jealous...

  2. By Whatsername on January 16, 2008 at 8:02PM

    And thank you for the French Women... reference. Reminds me to head to R. Nichols' site (he's the artist behind the book's illustrations) and stock up on my stationery!

  3. By Stephanie on January 15, 2008 at 12:17PM

    Warm Salad of Grilled Trout
    Adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr & Lee Hanson
    Serves 4

    ¼ c. honey
    ¼ c. Dijon mustard
    ½ lb. asparagus, stems trimmed, ends peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
    8 trout fillets, skin on
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/3 c. olive oil
    4 Tbsp. butter
    1 c. shelled walnuts
    5 Tbsp. of best-quality, syrupy balsamic vinegar, divided
    1 lb. baby spinach, well rinsed and spun dry

    In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and mustard to form a glaze for grilling the trout. Remove 2 Tbsp. to another small bowl, then stir in 2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar (this will be a dressing to finish the dish). Set both aside.

    Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl and bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus until tender-crisp, 3-5 minutes. Drain and refresh them in the ice water to preserve their color. Drain again and set aside.

    Preheat grill. Dry the trout fillets and season the flesh sides with salt and pepper, then brush both sides with olive oil. Place the fish, skin side down, on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the fish and brush the skin side with the reserved honey mustard glaze. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Hold the cooked trout aside.

    Melt 3 Tbsp. of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan often to prevent burning. Season the nuts with salt, pepper, and 3 Tbsp. of the balsamic vinegar. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the vinegar has reduced to a thick syrup and coats the nuts. Add the remaining Tbsp. of butter and stir for an additional minute. Turn the flame down to low and add the asparagus. Turn the flame off and add the baby spinach along with a drizzle of balsamic. Gently toss to combine, and allow the heat of the pan to wilt the spinach.

    To serve: plate the salad by creating a small bed of the spinach-asparagus mixture in the center of the plate. Place 2 trout fillets, skin side up, on top of the spinach mixture. Drizzle with the honey-mustard-balsamic dressing.

  4. By Stephanie on January 15, 2008 at 12:17PM

    Cod Mitonée
    Adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr & Lee Hanson
    Serves 6

    ½ c. olive oil
    2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
    5 sprigs thyme
    ¾ c. white wine
    5 c. chicken stock (or broth; I suspect clam juice would be delicious as well)
    6 slices of country bread
    6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
    6 cod fillets
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 c. loosely packed Swiss chard leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces (spinach leaves could work as well)
    white beans (optional, I would stir in ½ c. of drained, rinsed canned, if you like)
    2 Tbsp. fines herbes (fresh parsley, chervil, chives, and tarragon)
    3 tomatoes, diced (you could substitute 1 ½ c. of chopped cherry tomatoes, if they’re tastier)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat ¼ c. of the olive oil over a medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onions, garlic, and thyme and sauté for 30 minutes, until the ingredients have turned soft and golden brown. Add the white wine and the chicken stock. Turn the flame down to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

    Toast the bread in the oven on a baking sheet, and then top with some grated Gruyere. Bake for another few minutes until cheese is melted. Set aside. Keep oven heated.

    When the broth has cooked for 30 minutes, turn the flame down to very low and add the Swiss chard to the chicken stock long with the white beans (if using), fines herbes, and diced tomatoes. Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

    Heat the remaining ¼ c. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick sauté pan. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add 3 of the cod fillets and sear on each side for 3 minutes. Transfer them to a baking sheet and then sear the remaining 3 fillets. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the cod is opaque and just beginning to flake.

    Ladle the broth and bean mixture into 6 shallow bowls. Set a toast in each bowl and then top with a cod fillet.