I like to eat fish. My father liked to eat fish (probably because it was fast and easy to cook, not to mention fairly healthy). He even had a surf-casting rod for the Jersey Shore (not that I remember him catching anything). When we lived inland, he’d track down a fish vendor. I will admit I took one look at some raw tuna he brought home once and said, “that’s not fish!” but that didn’t stop him.
Even though we live in Massachusetts, it’s hard to get interesting fish around here (one of my ongoing pet peeves). All right, I know—fish species have been overfished, which means the boats have to go increasingly far out to sea to find anything, and that means it has to be held for a while, and that means freezing them. I understand, really. And to be fair, the quick freezing process works pretty well. (Except for flounder, which I’ve found turns into a pile of mush very fast when you try to cook the once-frozen kind).
But there are dependable, firm-fleshed, large-flake white fish that are pretty versatile, which means you can use them in almost any recipe you can think of. Think of fish like cod and haddock and maybe hake as a blank canvas with which you can make almost recipe—creamy or crunchy, sweet or sour. And it cooks quickly, as my father knew.
|This cod hangs inside the Massachusetts|
State House in Boston
This is a quick and tasty recipe that’s great for a cold, damp winter’s night.
Steamed Chile-Garlic Cod
Ingredients (for two servings):
4 Tblsp Asian sweet chili sauce (also
2 tsp rice vinegar
4 tsp soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Lime slices (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the glaze, in a small bowl mix the chili sauce, rice vinegar and soy sauce.
Cut two sheets of parchment paper, large enough to wrap your fillets. (Note: it’s hard to get two fillets that are exactly the same size. Don’t worry about it.) Dab a bit of the sauce on each piece of parchment paper, then place one fillet on each sheet and brush with the glaze. Top with the garlic slices (and the lime if you’re using it).
Fold the parchment paper over the fillets, crimping the edges to seal the packets. Place them in a baking pan.
Bake 12-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillets). Remove the pan from the oven, place the packets on a plate and open them carefully (watch out for the steam!).
Drizzle any of the juices from the packets over the fillets and serve with rice (okay, I got daring—I had some black rice hanging around and I thought it would look pretty with the fish. If you’re wondering, the black rice cooks just like white rice but takes longer.)
|And here's a fish-seller at the Skibbereen|
Farmer's Market. Gorgeous (the fish, that is),
aren't they? And it's a treat to watch the
people fillet the fish--fast!