Fresh locally caught fish, and local, seasonal, picked-that-morning fresh produce combined in a bright and flavorful healthy meal... Pan-Fried Fish with Apricot Salsa & Arugula Salad combines gorgeous spring produce in a simple one-dish meal!
My husband Mark and I are celebrating our 35th anniversary in our trailer - Chaco Culture National Historic Monument, and Durango, Colorado. Oh my! I never grow tired of the beauty of the high desert southwest! The night sky, and the stars, of course, are unequalled in their beauty. Never one to neglect food, though, I set about finding the finest local ingredients in putting together a meal under the stars for the love of my life and me. 🙂 Pan-Fried Fish With Apricot Salsa & Arugula Salad was the end result, and it did not disappoint!
The sky was clear and crowded with stars, the stars looked hard and pure.
~~ Manuel Ramos, Ballad of Rocky Ruiz
When travelling, I love to investigate the local "food scene." Durango is blessed! Mark and I found locally caught wild striped bass at a local market - PJ's Gourmet Grocers. Apricots (the earliest stone fruits) are in season, so I snagged a couple. Today, after a hike in the high country above Durango Mountain Resort, we stopped at James Ranch Market, and found the most beautiful freshly pulled white radishes, and arugula. James Ranch Market features artisan cheeses from the grass-fed cows, garden-fresh organic produce, grass-fed beef, pork, pastured eggs, etc. Oh my! We enjoyed a tour of the property, and I know their cows, goats, pigs, and chickens must be happy! So, I figured I could incorporate the arugula and white radishes into my evening menu, and surprisingly, it worked!
Salsa is such a versatile condiment, and it lends itself so well to local, seasonal, fresh ingredients. This apricot salsa combines the freshest of ingredients, and you can vary this recipe to incorporate whatever ingredients are fresh and seasonal in your area. I used firm, ripe apricots (not soft), sweet onion, fresh basil, serrano chiles, roma tomato, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and honey. My fish was filleted striped bass - local and very fresh - but you could use any firm, white fish.
My salad greens were arugula - freshly picked - and combined with freshly picked white radishes. The vinaigrette was simply olive oil, sherry vinegar, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. We had been to a local microbrewery - Animas River Brewing Co. - and didn't want additional carbs with our dinner, but a wild rice pilaf or baguette would be perfect to complete the meal! We paired this fresh fish dish with a local Chardonnay from Four Leaves Winery in Durango. With the babble of Lightner Creek in the background, and the cool mountain breeze, it's hard to imagine a more perfect meal under the stars!
Substitute your preferred sweetener. I like honey, but sometimes use agave nectar or brown sugar. Use whatever fruit is seasonal and fresh. You might substitute peaches, nectarines, or mangoes. I love sherry vinegar. It has an amazing smooth flavor, and is not highly acidic. Feel free to substitute another good vinegar like apple cider or white wine vinegar. I used buttermilk pancake mix to coat the fish, as I'd neglected to bring flour. Bread crumbs and cornmeal are also great options.
Durango, Colorado is an awesome vacation destination for lovers of good food, good wine, craft breweries, and every imaginable outdoor activity. I've included a few photos and links from our trip that might prove helpful (or amuse you)...
Substitute your preferred sweetener. I like honey, but sometimes use agave nectar or brown sugar.
Use whatever fruit is seasonal and fresh. You might substitute peaches, nectarines, or mangoes.
I love sherry vinegar. It has an amazing smooth flavor, and is not highly acidic. Feel free to substitute another good vinegar like apple cider or white wine vinegar.
I used buttermilk pancake mix to coat the fish, as I'd neglected to bring flour. Bread crumbs and cornmeal are also great options.
A few places we visited and really enjoyed:
- Lightner Creek Campground
- Ken and Sue's - farm-to-table restaurant
- Animas River Trail (biking, walking, running)
- Durango Mountain Resort (chair lift to high country trails)
- Carver Brewing Company - brew pub
- Animas Brewing Company - brew pub
- Ska Brewing - brew pub, brewery tour, amazing food
- Four Leaves Winery
- James Ranch and Market
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