For Noah’s birthday last month, I faced my fear of hot oil and made some fish ‘n chips. It turned out really well, except we didn’t have any relish so my tartar sauce came out a bit weird. But, otherwise, yum! I decided to avoid the hassle of making homemade fries, so I just used frozen and fried ’em up in a pot.
- 3 qt safflower or peanut oil (or some other oil that can withstand high heat)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 (12-oz) bottle cold beer (preferably ale)
- 1 1/2 lb haddock or cod fillets, skinned, pin bones removed, and fish cut diagonally into 1-inch-wide strips (5 to 6 inches long)
- Special equipment: a deep-fat thermometer
- Accompaniment: malt vinegar or tartar sauce
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 250°F.
Sift 1 1/2 cups flour into a bowl, then whisk in beer gently until just combined. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Pat fish dry. Sprinkle fish on both sides with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then dredge in remaining 1/2 cup flour, shaking off excess
Heat oil over moderately high heat until it registers 375°F.
Coat 4 pieces of fish in batter, 1 at a time, and slide into oil as coated. Fry coated fish, turning over frequently, until deep golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in lower third of oven, then fry remaining fish in batches of 4, returning oil to 375°F between batches.
Season fish and chips with salt.
*The tartar sauce I made was a mixture of mayo, lemon juice, chopped onion, salt, pepper and if I had had some, relish. You can also just eat your fish with malt vinegar or some other condiment instead, too.
YUMMM! We’re leaving for vacation on Thursday, so I was trying to make a pasta dish that would last two days and only two days. Well, mission accomplished, there are no leftovers, but sadly this was so good that we consumed the entire pound of pasta and clams each and the accompanying ingredients in one night. Oh well, tummy is very happy!
- 1 pound linguine
- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 pound New Zealand cockles or 24 Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in with juice
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1. In large pot over moderately high heat, combine 8 quarts of water to boil and salt. Bring to boil, then add linguine and cook to 1 minute short of al dente according to package directions (pasta should still be quite firm).
2. Once pasta has been placed in boiling water: In a large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat 4 tablespoons extra- olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add clams and 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes and juice, and 1/2 cup parsley and simmer, uncovered, just until clams open, 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain linguine and add to pan. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until linguine is just tender, about 1 minute. If necessary, add some of reserved cooking water to keep moist. Remove from heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and extra-virgin olive oil, tossing to coat. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.
I’ve been reading the book Four Fish (subtitled “The Future of the Last Wild Food”) by Paul Greenberg, which gives a history of salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna and of course details the environmental aspect of eating, fishing and farming all of them. As someone who loves fish and the ocean, I actually find it riveting. It really makes me wish I stayed an extra quarter to get that minor in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Perhaps that teeny credential would have come in handy now as I contemplate switching careers in the veeery long term future. I just finished reading the section on sea bass, and the author describes the delicate, white, tender flaky meat of sea bass to explain why it’s so popular. Did you know sea bass has many names, which if you live in New York City, you most likely have seen: branzino, loup de mer, bar, spigola. My mouth immediately began to water, and I continued reading as he details the highly complicated human engineering that goes on in the farming of sea bass, as well as the accompanying pollution and disease. He achieved his intent of making me feel guilty for wanting sea bass. But, then in the last few pages of the chapter, he mentioned a new kind of sea bass whose natural biology is conducive to being farmed, and therefore it’s sustainable and not detrimental to the environment — that sea bass is called Barramundi! Naturally, this would be my next meal.
I headed over to the Lobster Place, where I knew for sure they must have this Barramundi. Sure enough, they even had Barramundi from the same “farm” in Turner Falls, MA where the author had done his research. I had intended to buy a filet or two, but the whole fish was 1/2 the price (per pound), so I got that instead. The entire fish wouldn’t fit in the pan, so I tried and then Noah succeeded in chopping off the fish heads (sorry to you sensitive readers out there, but this is just how your food gets to the plate).
I proceeded then to adapt this recipe for Barramundi. The recipe has you make a sweet potato puree and brussel sprout chips (from each leaf), but I opted for the easier task of simply chopping and roasting them together. I also made the vinaigrette called for in the recipe, but I think the fish tastes great simply just pan fried with salt and pepper. So, I saved the vinaigrette for a future salad. Also, during this adventure, I learned how to beautifully pan fry a whole fish – so easy and so delicious! The skin is so yummy and crisp.
Pan Fried Barramundi
2 barramundi fish, cleaned (or 4 5-6 oz filets)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts
salt + pepper
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes. Cut brussel sprouts in halves. Quarter and slice sweet potato into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine vegetables in baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vingegar, salt, pepper, dried rosemary and thyme. Mix to combine. Arrange brussel sprouts with cut side down. Bake in oven for 30-35 mins.
During the latter half of October, I had major cravings for simple, soothing Taiwanese soup. This also coincided with me getting sick. I either wanted some ginger clam soup, or what my mom always called “Strong Soup,” which is basically a clear broth made from simmering a whole chicken in water, ginger and some type of Chinese herb (my mom did not know the English name, so I was at a loss for the key ingredient). I hope to pick some up when I go home for Thanksgiving. So, clam soup it was.
I headed to Chinatown for my groceries, and came back with the biggest ever piece of ginger, beautiful manila clams (hard to locate in Western stores) and some winter melon. I’ve made this soup with other clams from both Whole Foods and the Lobster Place, and each time the clams just don’t taste quite delicate enough, and there’s always way too much sand (even after soaking). So, this time I would only settle on clams from Chinatown, just like my mom.
Ginger Clam Soup
1 lb winter melon
1 lb clams
1 tbsp shredded ginger
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cooking wine
1. Soak clams in salt water and a little bit of corn meal to remove sand.
2. Strip off winter melon, remove seeds and dice.
3. Pour water to cover winter melon and cook until soft. When water boils, add clams, shredded ginger and salt. Once clams open, turn off the fire, pour cooking wine and serve.
We are cooking up a storm today! Due to being prego (we’re about 12 weeks in now!), I kind of lost the desire and inspiration to prepare food so I haven’t cooked hardly at all for the past few weeks. I think I’m finally past that stage and (hopefully) I’m back!
Tonight, I welcomed the cool, October weather with my favorite roasted brussel sprouts (thanks again to Lil for this recipe, which I’ve used numerous times) and white-wine scallop pasta. Both excellent and comforting dishes. I’ve made these brussel sprouts for many gatherings and they are always loved by lots. People who don’t even like brussel sprouts have asked me for the recipe – it’s that good. I think, if you love cabbage like I do, you’ll like these. The scallop pasta is another favorite of Noah and mine. Aside from obtaining the scallops, both dishes are actually amazingly easy to prepare.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Pecans
2 lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 c pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss all the ingredients together. Turn the brussel sprouts cut-side down. Toast until golden and tender, 20-25 mins.
Scallops With White Wine Sauce
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T minced shallot or red onion
1/2 c white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c butter
1 lb sea scallops
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the garlic and then the onions.
2. Pour in the white wine and lemon juice. Cook and stir until most of the liquid has been reduced. Stir in the butter until melted.
3. Cook the dry scallops in the butter sauce until the center is opaque (about 2 mins on each side), making sure not to overcook the scallops.
4. Remove pan from heat and remove scallops from sauce. Set aside.
5. Toss 1/2 lb of pasta (I used linguine) with the wine-butter sauce and the chopped parsley. Serve and top with scallops.
Since we’re leaving for Seattle on Friday (and because we like their company), we invited some friends over to help us eat our vegetables and fruit.
Last Night’s Dinner Menu:
- Juice & Seltzer (thanks to the Hsus, I wonder I never discovered this sooner)
- Babaghanoush with crudites of green bell pepper and terrachips
- Summer squash sauteed with tomatoes, onions and basil (accompanied with pasta)
- Whole baked fish (Black Sea Bass and Blackfish) stuffed with lemon and leeks, and encrusted in… salt
- Arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, strawberries, walnuts and goat cheese
- Bowl of donut peaches and nectarines
I think when I planned this meal, I wasn’t entirely thinking straight. I think I was so consumed with using up all the produce that I didn’t consider whether the recipes I found would actually be appealing. I guess I just relied too much on people’s ratings of the recipes, without taking into account personal tastes. I mean, everything was palatable, but I think I really should have rethought the fish.
(the only produce I store-bought was the arugula and strawberries)
1) The babaghanoush. I usually don’t like babaghanoush, except for maybe two times, where it was just the perfect blend of flavors. Grace used her eggplant from last week to make an amazing babaghanoush. Mine was ok, but I think if I ever have another eggplant, I’ll ask for her recipe.
2) The Fish. Encrusted in salt – really? Weber seemed to really like it, but I think everyone else was just… eating it because it was on their plate, myself included. It. Was. Just. So. Salteeey! If I had been actually thinking through the recipe, I would have foreseen this problem… sigh.
3) The summer squash was good, but I think I added too much pasta, which was a concern of mine before making the dish, but then in the midst of cooking I stopped thinking about that for some reason. It made the dish a bit bland, which actually was a nice respite from the intense saltiness of the fish. I like that I got to put fresh basil into this dish, but next time would add it later, so the taste doesn’t get all cooked away since it simmers for 20 minutes.
4) The salad. I liked it! I had intended to put wedges of nectarines in the salad but then realized slicing strawberries was much easier than halving, seeding and cutting nectarines. I made a red wine vinaigrette instead of my usual lemon vinaigrette, which was good, but that lemon vinaigrette is just so excellent. And, anything is wonderful when you can add goat cheese to it!
5) Peaches & Nectarines. Nothing simpler than just washing and serving. 🙂 Yum! Carrie also made some homemade chocolate covered toffee and brought some ice cream. Excellent end to the meal.
Thanks friends for being polite and spending an evening with us! I kind of felt like Ina Gartner or Giada prepping and cooking for friends. 🙂