Halibut Oreganata, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Italian Mixed Salad!

I have a confession to make. 

So although I call myself a vegetarian...I'm technically a "pescatarian". I just love seafood too much to give it up. And to me the scale of animal cruelty and poor health standards that  exist within the meatpacking industry are not nearly as severe in seafood. Plus fish provides so many health benefits that I just can't resist. There's nothing like a balanced, healthy, fish dinner which is just what this menu plan provides.  
Halibut Oreganata is one of my favorite at home fish preparations because its a cinch to make and provides a nice crunchy texture to the flaky fish. You begin by coating the bottom of a baking dish with extra virgin olive oil and then place the halibut fillets snugly together. Next salt and pepper your fishies and top each with a thin slice of tomato and drizzle some white wine over...because everything and everyone is a little happier after some wine ;) 
Next mix up your Oreganata topping. Oreganata is an Italian style of cooking where a breadcrumb topping is placed over a type of seafood. All that's to it is to whip up a wet mixture of breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and olive oil and layer evenly over the filets. 

Now all you have to do is pop it in the oven, you don't even have to worry about covering the dish. How easy is that! Who says you have to go to a fancy seafood restaurant to enjoy a high quality fish entree? 
And remember that you can use this recipe with any other white fish that's your favorite or on sale...I just used halibut for the hell of it ;) Sorry I had too! 
Normally I always say there's a real star of the dinner, but in this case-as amazing as Halibut Oreganata is-the side dish equally deserves the spotlight. My mom has been making these Twice Baked Potatoes for years and they are a family favorite and rightly so. They are like the caviar of baked potatoes. No one can deny that baked potatoes are yummy but by removing the interior of a baked potato and mashing it with cream, cheddar cheese, butter, and chives and rebaking it...well lets just say you are in for quite a treat! 
And for all my bacon lovers (just because I'm vegetarian, I mean pescatarian, doesn't mean the rest of you have to be) add some cooked bacon to the mixture and prepare to fall in love. I often make these Twice Baked Potatoes for dinner just paired with a salad because they are so hearty, but they make great accompaniments for any steak, seafood, or chicken dinner.
Ok so remember I promised you a well balanced meal...so we obviously need to get some salad on the plate to balance out those creamy cheesey potatoes. Everything in Moderation is my motto! My Italian Mixed Salad is my go to salad. The dressing only has 5 simple ingredients that everyone should already have stocked in their kitchen: Extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of sugar. And it is so light and refreshing! 
You can dump any ingredients you have laying around your kitchen and the salad will turn out delicious every time. Its the definition of a pantry raid recipe.  This time I used most of my favorite Italian Mixed Salad Ingredients: Romaine lettuce, Radicchio, Artichoke Hearts, Olives, Garbanzo Beans, Hothouse Cucumbers, and Basil Croutons. But feel to swap or add any of your favorites to the party! When you have a salad as simple as this in your repertoire there's no excuse not to add a healthy dose of green to all of your meals.
With the fancy fish entree that requires barely any effort, and the best cheesy twice baked potatoes, plus a healthy colorful salad...you really can't go wrong with this dinner. Give it a try, I'm positive that there will be something everyone will love on this plate! 

Halibut Oreganata

3 halibut fillets
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons italian dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
3 large tomato slices 
salt and pepper 

Preheat oven to 375. Oil a small baking dish that is just large enough for the halibut to fit snugly together. Add fillets to dish and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle wine over the fish and top each fillet with a tomato slice. 

Meanwhile, mix together the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, and olive oil to make a wet mixture. Spread the oreganata topping evenly over the halibut. 

Bake uncovered until the oreganata topping is browned and the fish is opaque and flaky, about 25 to 30 minutes. 

Twice Baked Potatoes

2 Idaho Baking Potatoes
4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of half and half
1/4 lb grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
melted butter
green onions, diced
crumbled cooked bacon (optional)

Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven until firm but done. Let cool. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out almost all of the inside of the potatoes, being careful not too remove too much where the potato skin will lose its form. Mash potatoes with butter, half and half, and salt and pepper. Fold in cheese and green onions and bacon (if using). 

Restuff the potato skins and drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.

Italian Mixed Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 small jar of artichoke hearts
1 hothouse cucumber, sliced
1 small head of radicchio, chopped 
1 can of black olives, drained
1 can of chickpeas
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
a pinch of sugar

Toss all ingredients in a large salad bowl. To make salad dressing, I just tend to eye ball it because I'm always making different size salads so I never use a precise measurement. I just normally like to add almost an even amount of olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper generously. The true test is just to keep tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary. Also make sure to add a small pinch of sugar, I promise it doesn't make the salad sweet it just brings out the flavor.