June 28, 2012

Meatless Meal: Ten Minute Dinner Every Night


Lots of people complain about making fish.  This strikes me as odd, because fish is the ultimate quick supper. So long as you buy nice firm, fresh fish (or flash frozen), you don't have to worry about undercooking (I mean, undercooked fish isn't terribly pleasant, but you're not going to get sick from it). It is flavorful, and needs little embellishment. And it takes, literally, ten minuets to make.

I've been buying frozen fish from Costco--wild Alaskan cod. The moment I get home, I take it out of the freezer, put it in the sink, and run room-temperature water over it (never hot; you don't want to cook it!). In less time than it takes to boil water, the fish will defrost. Heat up your trusty cast iron skillet (ok, or regular skillet) with a tablespoon of olive oil or butter, and fry the fish till opaque (approximately 10 minutes) flipping once. Serve with salad and half a lemon: the a perfect summer meal. If it has skin, fry skin side first; make sure the pan is good and hot. It might take a minute longer.

Seasoning: well, you can do a million different things. Always season the fish with a little salt, because fish and salt love each other very very much (predictably). I've been dusting on cumin and ancho chili powder, which is delicious and summery, and goes well with lime rather than lemon. Dried or fresh, you want to use gentle herbs (dill, tarragon, summer savory, chives, basil), rather than strong, woody herbs like rosemary or thyme. A touch of garlic or shallots never hurt anything.

You can also fry up some of summer's bounty--sweet little cherry tomatoes or piles of zucchini--and add the fish to the pan when they are about ten minutes from being done. If you do it this way, cover the skillet with a lid for the first half of the cooking time, so that it partially steams, and absorbs some of the flavors of your pot. And if you have a grill pan, don't worry about the seasoning. Just get it nice and hot and fry it quickly adding salt, pepper, and a dab of butter or splash of olive oil while plating it.

Ps. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

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