Cheap Dinner: Wild Mackerel with Tomato Salad and Orzo with Zucchini and Parsley: With the arrival of August, our household starts the summer tradition of consuming copious amounts of fresh tomatoes (at times for both lunch and dinner) – see my entries on tomato salad, canning tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Ripe, garden grown, tomatoes represent the ideal food type for me (blending subtle, earthy flavors, with beautiful texture and color; not to mention the nutritional benefits of raw tomato).
My favorite tomato salad is comprised of red onion, basil, dried oregano, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and extra virgin olive oil (see my guide to olive oil). I like to call our tomato dish the “universal salad” because it pairs well with meat (such as beef, lamb, or pork) or with a simple loaf of bread, cheese, and olives. Recently, we paired the tomato salad above with roasted mackerel fillets and orzo with garden zucchini, parsley, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Total cost of the meal was under $19.00 ($7.99 for wild mackerel, .60 cents for 1/4 cup of orzo, $1.99 for Balthazar French baguette, and $7.99 for a bottle of sauvignon blanc from Chile; the rest of ingredients came from the garden or are staple products <such as olive oil, salt, etc.>). Proving, again, high quality food does not have to be expensive or inaccessible (as some food snobs have argued – see my article on why good food is not expensive).