Sunday, April 05, 2009

An All-American Meal

Our household experienced a culinary first recently. Pretty hard to do given I try to cook most everything I can get my hands on, but it’s true.

I pride myself on the fact that while my children were growing up, I never, not once, cooked frozen fish sticks. You know the kind, frozen rectangles of pollock or cod, flaked, pressed, formed, breaded and fried, then flash frozen and packaged. My children were not particularly fond of fish when they were younger, part of the reason that fish fingers have stayed off the menu, but now that their palates are more amendable to seafood, I thought it time.

Lest you forget the original idea behind this blog was to bring you food outside the suburban norm, I did not serve the ubiquitous Gorton’s or Van de Kamps—nothing remotely from the frozen aisle. Yep, I made my own fish and chips, fresh, tasty, easy, and the meal got resounding yeahs from all corners, children and husband alike.

Butcher Son brought home 2 pounds of fresh halibut (enough to feed 6) to make my fresh fish sticks. I modified a recipe I found in Bon Appetit, adding in some of Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic to the panko crumb mixture, spicing it up a notch. (The full recipes for this and the rest of the meal appear this Sunday on my Healthy Eating column on HealthNews.)

To add to the fish sticks, I made “chips”—something my British ancestors and Brilliant Daughter (who studied in London) would appreciate. Only the “chips” were baked Yukon Gold wedges. Tastier that frozen fries, and less calories, they took a few minutes to prep and pop in the oven, and came out perfect 45 minutes later without having to touch them at all! The wedges got crispy on the outside, but remained creamy on the inside, a perfect accompaniment to the fish.

And to top it all off, I made a two-crust apple pie. I’m not a fan of most fruit pies. They are one of my least favorite desserts, but I am the minority in my household when it comes to this issue. Having gotten a bargain bag of Fuji apples, I made a quick version, utilizing premade crusts. Having a handy-dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer helped as well, making short work of the 10 apples I used. (Five minutes to peel, core and slice all the apples.) To add a little kick to the pie, I pulled out the Poudre Douce spice blend that I got from World Spice Merchants at Pike’s Market in Seattle. I’m not sure exactly what is in it, but there is cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom, among other things. I have to run it through a spice blender to get a powder, but it is oh-so-worth-it. Topped off with a little whipped cream and we were all in heaven.

I will happily make these fish sticks again, maybe served with various aoilis and some sweet potato fries next time.

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