Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolution: Cook More Fish

I love to eat all kinds of seafood and often order seafood in restaurants. At home, I frequently cook shrimp and salmon. But I shied away from cooking many other types of fish, mainly because I was not sure about my ability to choose well. This nagged at me, though, because it seemed as if I had given up before I even started. So I vowed to begin cooking more fresh fish. I've made a few great meals quickly and easily.

I lucked out when a fish market opened up in a nearby town. One day I went in, bought a piece of sole, and asked the owner, "How would you cook this?" He said that he would simply heat up some butter and olive oil, lightly flour the fillet and then cook it quickly without turning. Add a bit of salt and pepper plus a squeeze of lemon and I'd be done. So I tried it, and it was delicious. That emboldened me to branch out. Next time, I tried flounder and added some shallots and white wine to the pan juices. That too was excellent.

Now, when I go to a supermarket, I check out the fish, and I have found two local markets that always seem to have a variety of fresh fish that is reasonably priced. If I go in with a particular fish in mind, I'm apt to be disappointed, but if I keep an open mind and just select what looks good, I'm usually happy.

Last week I saw some gorgeous cod fillets, and when I asked the counterman, he said that they had just arrived. So I brought them home and looked up "cod recipes." I found many, and all suggested cooking fillets in a 400-degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Then it was just a matter of deciding how to flavor it. I went with a mayonnaise and parmesan topping, which I had enjoyed on chicken, and it was delicious. Next time, I'll add some breadcrumbs for some crunch.

Luckily, I had not looked up just plain codfish, because if I had, I would have learned about codfish worms, and that might have turned me off. The Internet is filled with questions about these parasites. However, once I did learn about them, I also learned that they are not a mark of inferior fish or unsafe fish handling; they are just a fact of life and pose no danger in cooked fish. So my resolution stands. Next year, I will cook more fish.

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