So you just can’t decide between soup and fish for dinner. Here’s your answer. Nah, that’s not what this is about. It’s more like I’m crazy about fish cooked in or right there with vegetables. The simple, clean taste in fish or seafood is perfect all on its own; ok, ok, ok. Grilled or sautéed white fish, for example, doesn’t need much more than a bit of butter or lemon. It’s true and I agree. I’m nothing if not crazy about something like Sole Meuniere, Grilled Salmon, or even Fish and Chips when I’m feeling skinny. But there’s more…and more– and I really like figuring that out with a bit more sophisticated dishes like:
I make it nearly a practice to not google or check a cookbook when I first dream up a new recipe. Sometimes the dish-thought has been perking around in my brain or heart for a while; other times it’s a new idea encouraged by time or need. (Say Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up, for instance; I’m probably thinking about Irish food and that will not be corned and cabbage, I can promise you. Or, it’s Lent, like now, and I’m fishing around for fish.) But afterward, when the recipe’s a PDF or the post is written, I sometimes will search for information on my meal and almost always for additional links to help my cook-readers. (Like where to buy native wild rice or another way to cook beans.)
Cod is something I usually associate with fish and chips, if I am even remembering what fish fish and chips are made of, that is. But cod can be cooked in many other ways (try it wrapped in foil and baked a la Mark Bittman) and because not each and every home cook chooses it stateside, the price is lovely and often under $10 a pound–a real bargain for fish. (Europe is another story; cod outsells salmon in France, for instance.) Watch for it at your grocery fish counter; I watched and found it at mine! By the way: if you suffer from fish cooking fear, a common American phobia, cod is a great place to start. It’s forgiving, cooks quickly, and comes in close to one-pound well-filleted pieces with nary a tiny bone to worry your sweet mouth.
(below: Cod is no longer a huge fishing industry off the coast of eastern Canada and the U.S. as it was largely overfished for centuries, but we heard lots about its interesting history in our travel to the eastern provinces over the last few years. Top- Dave at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia and bottom- a view of the shore from the St. Lawrence River and Seaway. Dave and I have cruised it three times and hope to go back.) Continue reading
|Would you cook with this woman? Meet Delia Smith.|
In North America, we might argue over who taught us to cook. While Julia really was on tv, I’m sure I learned to cook from a. my mother, b. James Beard, and c. SILVER PALATE. (We all teach ourselves right in our kitchen, don’t we?) But in the UK, there’s no question about who taught you to cook; Delia Smith, #35 in Gourmet’s 50 Women Game-Changers in Food, did. (photo courtesy BBC)
Way back in the ’70s (was it that far away?), you only had to tune in to the telly to learn how to make pastry (or lots else) with Delia in London or Edinburgh. For grins, scroll down to the bottom of the post and click on the video and see what the buzz was about. Could you bake a blind tart shell after watching that television program? I admit I missed Julia a bit as I watched!
After a couple of false starts as a hairstylist and travel agent, and without much education, Delia began reading cookbooks in the reading room at the British Museum. Not long after, she was cooking and writing for the Daily Mirror starting in 1969, where she met her husband, Michael Wynn Jones.
Many television episodes, newspaper articles, books (21 million sold), a website, and even a soccer club later, Delia continues to deliver basic, commonsense, always-trusted cooking advice, recipes, and technique. She’s so successful at delivering the goods that, within the world marketplace, there’s now something called “The Delia Effect.” Which means it’ll sell like the proverbial hotcakes, as her stamp on anything makes product fly off the shelves in the UK. Reportedly, egg sales in England rose by 10% after her book How to Cook was published.
Delia’s Complete How to Cook can be ordered through amazon.com, as can other volumes, though some appear to be more available overseas than here in the States. Time for a few days in London, I’d say.
Reading through recipes and trying to decide which to try for this blog, I found no shortage of tasty and wonderful-sounding things to cook. Oven-Baked Smoked Pancetta and Leek Risotto caught my eye, as did Grilled Venison Steaks with Red Onion, Grape, and Raisin Confit, a selection from Delia’s website under the banner, “What Should You be Cooking This Month?” There’s also a tab for ingredients and the available recipes to use them. Special diets, Under 30 minutes, Freezing, and Cooking for One are just a few of the sections you might want to peruse on the site. I especially enjoyed “Recipe of the Day” and “Competitions.” At the very bottom are links to lists of recipes like, “French,” “Pasta,” and so on. While it might not be true, the website has every indication of containing a good portion of her thirty-plus years’ recipes and information, which makes it a treasure trove, to say nothing of a great value.
You could make “Italian Baked Fish” (and who doesn’t want more baked fish recipes) as did I, and give Delia a whirl:
|First: Make a little marinara with mushrooms.|
italian baked fish serves 4 (recipe courtesy deliaonline.com)
4 thick pieces of cod or other white fish (MN cooks: try our Lake Superior white fish here.)
2T olive oil (no need for extra virgin oil)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
1# ripe tomatoes or 400g tin of Italian tomatoes
4 oz (110 g) sliced mushrooms
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 T capers, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
12 black olives (I opted for kalamata.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start by making a good, thick tomato sauce: heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes. Now add the garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then bring to a simmering point and cook gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next add the sliced mushrooms, making sure they are well stirred in. Simmer for a further few minutes until it looks like a thick sauce. Lastly, stir in the fresh basil and chopped capers.
|Next, season the fish with lemon, salt, and pepper|
Now place the fish in a shallow baking dish or tin, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle a little lemon juice on each piece. Next spoon an equal quantity of the sauce on to each piece of fish and arrange a few olives on top. Cover the dish with foil and bake on a high shelf (in upper 1/3 of oven) for about 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve with new potatoes or brown rice and a tossed green salad.
|Last, top with marinara, and bake.|
I sometimes cook fish right down in a chunky tomato-onion-garlic-etc bath either on top of the stove or in the oven; you might try that idea if it appeals to you. Here’s my fast snapper in tomato sauce. Get your vegetables, honey.
Next week, join us when we’ll feature #36, Edna Lewis. “The granddaughter of an emancipated slave, Lewis, another Judith Jones protégée, brought sophisticated Southern dishes into the spotlight.”
If you’d like to cook a few other gorgeous Delia Smith (or other) meals, click on the blogs of the food bloggers featuring Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changers in Food this (or another) week:
Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades
What’s on Alyce’s blog about cooking for one, Dinner Place?
|Pork Tenderloin Salad with Berries and Oranges and a Sherry Vinaigrette|
Thanks for stopping by.
just for fun, here’s the early video of Delia teaching pastry-making in the late ’70s. courtesy BBC Bake a new tart, Alyce