I seem to be the laziest food-blogger in the world
Still cooking. Still eating. Loving the advancing growing season, and the increasing variety of local foodstuffs available from the farmers’ market, various farmstands and the wonderful Corvallis Local Foods online ordering site. My garden, rebuilt from scratch to move food production to the only south-facing, full-sun bed I have, is going gangbusters – and my sense of smell is even starting to come back, gradually, nearly a year after it abruptly vanished.
What I’ve not been doing is blogging. Too lazy, too busy, take your pick.
But a good friend just started her own very special food blog, and put me in her blogroll, and that’s motivation enough to sit down on a hot summer night while waiting for dinner to come out of the oven and do a little writing and recipe-sharing.
While I subsist more and more on vegetables (and berries!) at this time of year – because how can I resist when the markets are full of fresh, beautiful produce – I’ve also been eating a lot of fish lately, thanks to a small fisherman-owned business out of the Coast Range town of Toledo, Island Wild Foods. They’ve started selling sustainably harvested, flash-frozen-at-sea fish caught in the tropical Pacific off Hawaii through Corvallis Local Foods, and while it may not quite qualify as “locally grown,” it’s still a relatively local business, and the fish is sublime. (I also bring fish back often when I visit the coast, either bought off the boat or from the fabulous Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport, which really deserves its own post one of these days).
There are lots of great ways to prepare good fish; one of my favorites is to bake it the way my mother used to, with a flavorful topping that adds a little flavor while keeping the fish moist and tender. Those of you who are mayonnaise-phobes may cringe, but this is a terrific way to prepare almost any variety of fish, as long as it’s not too delicate.
That’s how I’m doing it tonight, with a lovely piece of pomfret, aka monchong, a fish whose meaty texture reminds me of good wild tuna, but with a lighter flavor. (The photo above was taken a couple of weeks ago, while my sugar-pod peas were still producing like crazy, and served with a simple mango-avocado salsa dressed with lime and chili and some Israeli couscous with wild morels. The peas are done now, and I’m having the fish tonight with a cabbage and raw-beet coleslaw.)
Mom’s Baked Fish
- One or more portions of firm-fleshed fish, such as ahi tuna, salmon, pomfret or halibut (I’m using steaks about 3/4 inch thick)
- Olive oil
- For each serving of fish, mix together:
- 1 tsp real mayonnaise
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tsp parmesan (grate it fresh if you can) plus a little extra to sprinkle on top
- Lemon, sliced paper thin
- Sweet onions, ditto
- Panko bread crumbs
- Freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. Drizzle (or wipe) a little olive oil into a heat-proof baking dish and arrange the fish pieces so they don’t touch.
Mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and parmesan.
Lay thin slices of lemon and onion on top of the fish. As if frosting a cupcake, spread the mayonnaise mixture on top to completely cover.
Sprinkle on some panko crumbs and a little more parmesan, and a touch of black pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes or so, until the fish is cooked through ( test it with a fork) and the topping is lightly browned.
Serve hot, with something cool and crunchy on the side and perhaps a nice pinot gris or sauvignon blanc.