Allergy Season

A little film of green pollen has started accumulating on my car. Perhaps that is partly why I have been craving honey. Have you heard this? Someone told me once that to minimize the effects of seasonal allergies, you should consume copious amounts of local honey because, like a vaccine, it will inoculate you with small amounts of the very same pollen that makes you sneeze incessantly during allergy season.

So, I don’t know if this is my body gearing up for the allergy wave of Spring 2011, nor whether I will ever be able to consume enough honey to make me immune to seasonal allergies, but I do know that I have been craving honey. Green tea with honey in the morning. Granola and yogurt and honey. Wherever I can get it.

On a somewhat unrelated note (but it’s not too tangential, I promise), I was reading today about miso and found an intriguing recipe for halibut baked with a miso-honey glaze. Unable to find a tub of miso at my grocery store (though planning to hunt some done soon at a smaller health foods store in the very near future), I modified the recipe a bit to let the honey shine through, accented with some additional flavors.

Baked Halibut with Lemon Ginger Honey Glaze (inspired by this Miso-Glazed Halibut)
Yum Factor: Alex – 7.5, Jessalyn – 8

– 2 tablespoons honey
– 1/2 – 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Tamari which is gluten-free)
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
– 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
– 1 tablespoon lemon zest
– 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
1. Mix all glaze ingredients together.

2. Lightly grease your baking dish. Paint the halibut filets with the glaze. Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve warm, topped with freshly chopped herbs (optional) such as basil, parsley, cilantro, or chives.

I served mine with an impromptu sweet potato mash.

Rosemary and Onion Sweet Potato Mash (my own recipe, but inspired by ideas in The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg)
Yum Factor: Alex – 8.0, Jessalyn – 7 

– 1 large sweet potato
1. Bake in a 375F oven for an hour to an hour and a half. (This can be done in advance.

– 1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
2. Meanwhile, cook the onion over medium-low heat in some bacon fat (or oil or butter, if you’d rather; the lard imparts an excellent smokey flavor). You want them quite softened, but they need not be so cooked down that they are caramelized.

3. When the sweet potato is finished, carefully peel off the skin. Mash the flesh together with 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped. The heat from the potatoes will help the rosemary to release its flavors even more. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

I’d also like to point out that this meal cost us less than $10 per person. Here’s what it looks like:

2 fresh Halibut fillets: $15
1 sweet potato: $2
1 onion: $1.50 – but only used half so $0.75
herbs: free from my backyard
honey/lemon/soy sauce/oil etc.: “free” because I already had them on hand; plus calculating the percentages in such small amounts would really total maybe $0.50 more
_____________________
= $18.25 divided by two people = $9.13

Nice! This dish definitely satisfied me and my honey craving. It was not at all overpoweringly sweet. Plus, there’s something wickedly fantastic that happens to honey when it is baked slightly – it becomes more savory and melts beautifully onto the fish, cut only slightly by the soy sauce and lemon. Give it a try and let me know what you think. If halibut’s not yet available where you are, ask your fish person for something similar.

So, am I the only one craving honey this season? Have you ever used honey with fish before? Does anyone keep bees and collect their own honey? Do tell! 

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