The little boy and the husband came home from a chips-and-salsa run wearing Cheshire Cat grins.

“We have a challenge for you,” the husband said.

The little boy held out two bundles wrapped in butcher paper.

“Trout and shrimp,” he announced. “What can you make for dinner?”

I don’t know when my cooking became contest fodder, but I have clearly moved beyond feeding my family for sustenance. I am now the evening’s entertainment.

Here’s what we ate last night, using the required trout and shrimp ingredients:

Roasted trout topped with a Mediterranean-inspired tomato salad and pan-fried shrimp.

I don’t know what the boys expected, but simple is best when it comes to fresh fish. The hardest work was making the tomato salad:

I diced the last (sigh) of the garden’s summer tomatoes (about 2 cups worth), then added 1 finely chopped banana pepper, a handful of chopped basil, about a teaspoon each of minced fresh rosemary and oregano, 1/4 cup of sliced kalamata olives, 1 clove of minced garlic and half an avocado, cubed. I tossed it all with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of 1 small lime.

While that concoction rested in the fridge, I opened the trout package. Two lovely butterflied trout fillets looked up at me. I put those in a greased baking dish, sprinkled them with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, then popped them in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes.

While the trout was roasting, I opened up the shrimp package to find 8 beautiful Gulf shrimp. I peeled and deveined them, then put them in an olive-oil slicked pan to sizzle for about 2 minutes on each side.

When the trout came out of the oven, I cut each fillet in half, plated it, spooned on some tomato salad and topped each plate with 2 shrimp apiece.

The heat from the trout and the shrimp brought out the flavor of the tomatoes and herbs. The acidity from the tomatoes, vinegar and lime cut the fattiness of the fish and shrimp. It was light, fresh, seasonal…

And oh so simple. I can’t wait to see what tonight’s entertainment will feature!

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