Friday, October 31, 2008

Here, Fishy Fishy

Growing up, my only real exposure to the meat category came from beings with fins or wings. I don't know why these animals were considered more appropriate to eat than, say, a four legged mammal, but they just were. Red meat was just never welcomed in the house in which I grew up. It was shunned by my mother (head chef) and not missed by me, because I had never eaten it. The first time I voluntarily ate red meat I was almost twenty. A certain someone asked me, "why not?" and I did not have an answer, I realized. There was no theory behind not eating red meat for me-no philosophy; I could not even say I didn't like it, because I didn't even know if I did! So I tried my first red meat. A juicy cheeseburger (double whammy- red meat AND milk+meat on my first try). What did we find? It was delish! In the two years to follow I ate as much meat as possible. I tried everything. I wanted to know what it was all about.

When I finally decided I knew what red meat was about, and felt that I had enough information to satisfy my lack of first-hand knowledge of it, I felt comfortable making a decision. Red meat just isn't really for me. Sure I'll have some lamb once in a while, if someone else is preparing it, and I rarely pass up a burger at a BBQ (but those are few and far between). I respect the value of meat, and respect even more the chefs that can prepare it beyond my wildest dreams, creatively and with wonderful inspiration (props to San Francisco's Christian Noto).

But when it comes to what I love preparing for dinner, I stick to what I really deeply know and feel good about preparing, cooking, and eating.
A few nights ago I prepared a delicious black cod in parchment paper, served with broccoli + garlic mashed potatoes and green salad. For sure, the highlight of the meal was the fish. Here is the recipe:

black cod (think ~1" thick, a 5" long piece per person)
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
lemons, sliced paper-thin
fresh or dried oregano (best quality you can find; either from your garden* or Greek leaf + stem oregano)
fresh parsley leaves, chopped or whole

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.
Place each piece of cod on its own strip of parchment paper. Sprinkle parsley and oregano onto fish, then place a few (5-6) slices of garlic on top, then salt and pepper, and finally, a couple of lemon slices. Wrap in paper by joining two diagonal corners in your hands, rolling down as you would a paper lunch bag, and then fold the remaining to corners underneath (See picture). Place each packet on a baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes on 400. Eat. Smile.

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