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Monday, February 13, 2012

Something Fishy Going On!

If you are like me you don't really like fish.  I know, we are supposed to eat it for the Omega 3 fatty acids etc. etc. etc.  But years of fish on Friday kinda did it for me.  Dad loved fish.  Anyone who knows what Finnin Haddie is, raise your hand.  As far as I know it's smoked cod.  Anyone who LIKES Finnin Haddie, raise your hand.  Nobody?  Not surprised.

Sometimes mom would order fried cod dinners (read fish & chips) from a local take out place.  I loved it.  Dad would get the shrimp dinner.  Who cared, I loved that fried cod.  Anybody who does NOT like fried fish raise your hand.

Sometimes mom would buy us little mini pizzas from the A&P.  The cheese version came six to a pack.  Pepperoni was the same price but you onlyl got five.  Five or six little 4 inch pizzas - who could say no?  Being Friday we usually had the cheese pizzas (yay) but other times we got the pepperoni (double yay).  But I started out to discuss fish, not pizza. 

If we did not get the pizzas or the cod dinner mom might make us meatless chop suey (from the can) or something else.  On those days dad got trout and green beans cooked in butter with almonds.  I am not quite sure if this was actually "Trout Amandine" but that's what it seemed like.  Here's how she did it.

If your grocery store has live trout swimming around you might like to try those.  Otherwise buy the whole trout that have been cleaned for you.  Heat some butter in a skillet large enough to hold the trout.  Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper and roll them in a little flour, shaking off the excess.  Place the fish in the skillet and cook them about 5 - 6 minutes per side until they are golden and done.  Remove them to a warm plate and hold them in the oven on low heat.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to a boil and blanch the green beans just until tender crisp.  You may wish to finish them in the same pan as the fish, or in their own pan.  Melt a little more butter and roll the beans around until they are coated and cooked through.  Remove and add a handful of slivered almonds, stirring until they are toasted.  Serve the trout with a side of beans and garnish the plate with the toasted almonds and a few wedges of lemon.

If you are not keen on eating a whole fish then look for frozen fillets.  They are easy to fix and the tilapia is quite mild tasting.  The ones I buy are often on sale for a dollar for each 4 oz. package, vacuum sealed and pre-frozen.  A package of tilapia makes a generous serving per person.

Season the fillets, still frozen, while you heat a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet.  Dust the fish lightly with flour, patting off the excess.  Place the fish in the skillet and cook about 5 - 6 minutes.  Turn carefully using two spatulas and cook the other side.  Add a nice pat of butter to the pan and allow it to melt, swirling the pan gently so the butter slides under the fish.  Place the skillet in a warm oven while you finish your side dishes. 

Try the green beans above or try a handful of asparagus or broccoli with a little olive oil and/or butter, salt and pepper and a pinch of hot pepper flakes.  Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are done and maybe have a little sear on them (almonds optional).  Tasty!

Pilaf would go nicely with this.  Melt some butter in a sauce pan and saute some diced onion, then add about 3/4 cup rice and 1/2 cup thin egg noodles or broken vermicelli.  Stir until toasted.  Add about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water with a bullion cube) and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about 15 minutes until the rice is tender and liquid absorbed.  Remove from heat, lay a kitchen towel over the top of the pot and replace the lid over the towel.  Allow to steam about 5 minutes to finish.  (Or open a box of Rice-A-Roni and follow package directions).

Do the rice first and by the time the fish and asparagus are done the rice will be done, too.  I enjoyed the tilapia fixed this way and would also try this with the frozen flounder or sole fillets.  Squeeze a lemon wedge over the fish and serve.  Be sure to get all the melted butter out of the pan and onto your fish!

Happy Valentine's day and good health to you.

Quotable Quotes; in the category I've Heard Of Odd Couples But This Is Ridiculous!

"A fish may love a bird, but where would they live?"
Drew Barrymore

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