We went to Seattle for a few days last week for spring break. I had never been, and decided it was time to go, if for no other reason than to see something green growing out of the ground.
The morning after we arrived, the first thing we did was hit Pike Place Market – the original Starbucks, of course – very cool to see the original decor, and the lineup took no longer than any other Starbucks, although coming out it was already starting to wind down the street.
The market was – as the kids seem to be saying these days – totally beyond. Stall after stall selling tulips, overflowing their white buckets – a dollar apiece, or a dozen for $10. Curios shops, magic shops, book shops and candy shops, with a gum wall out one back door along a cobbled street for a dose of weirdness. (The gum wall is a back alley wall where people in line for the theatre started sticking their gum some years ago, and the concept stuck.)
Of course we milled about at the famous fishmongers, although despite all of our lingering, nary a fish was tossed. (We couldn’t very well buy any to prompt them to do their schtick, as our hotel room didn’t come equipped with a kitchen.) There was always one or two guys hanging out in front of the stall though, decked out in rubber overalls, talking to customers (or curious passers-by) about how to cook their fish. One of them repeated to half a dozen queries: “ten minutes per inch of thickness.” It was all it seemed anyone needed to know. No packaged food has an easier set of cooking instructions.
What you do to it before it goes into the oven is up to you. I happened to have a bunch of fresh dill, and so it seemed proper to chop it and scatter it over oiled trout (salmon could take its place) along with some coarse salt and thinly sliced lemon. Honestly, I think I was motivated by looks; W prefers fish baked with a smear of pesto, but it isn’t nearly as pretty.
If you want to get the fish cooking from both sides at once, heat up a pan and slap it in, then slide it into a hot oven – I usually do 425F – for 10 minutes per inch. This took a little under ten minutes.
Done like dinner! I’d feel like I was back in Seattle if the forecast wasn’t for snow tomorrow.
April 02 2013 | fish | 12 Comments »
I defy anyone out there to come up with faster food than this. (Cereal doesn’t count.)
OK, I got a head start on the sweet potato, so that can be an exception if it evens things out a little. W and I make banana bread a lot – a recipe that allows W to mash the banana, sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl with a potato masher, then add the dry ingredients, stir them in, scrape it into a pan and bake. The other day it seemed like a waste to have the oven on with only a loaf pan inside, so I threw a sweet potato and head of garlic, wrapped in foil, in for the hour it took to bake the banana bread. (Both will keep just fine in the fridge for up to a week.) Roasted sweet potatoes are best for mashing – they have more flavour and retain all their nutrients (none lost to the cooking water), and they practically peel themselves as they come out of the oven. Seriously – you just pull the skin off with your fingers. So I mashed it with a teeny pat of butter and splash of orange juice, and that was done.
As for the rest – I had some glaze leftover from the Easter ham: equal parts balsamic, brown sugar and grainy mustard – so I picked up a salmon filet to make use of it. Threw it on a foil-lined sheet (only to avoid sticky clean-up after) and poured the marinade overtop while heating the oven to 400F. (Anything will do – basil or sun-dried tomato pesto, teriyaki sauce, even barbecue sauce.) Snapped the ends off the asparagus and stirred 1 tablespoon sugar (white or brown) into 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Put the salmon in. Drizzled some sesame oil in a hot pan and cranked it on to medium-high. Set the table. (Yes, I have an electric oven. Pity me. And “setting the table” involves W getting 3 forks from the drawer and me pouring 3 waters.) Threw the asparagus in the pan and tossed them around for a minute or two; added the pea pods for another minute or so, turned off the heat and poured over the sugary soy sauce. Sprinkled with sesame seeds. Pulled the salmon out. (Salmon takes 10 minutes per inch of thickness. So usually around 10 minutes.)
Total time lapsed: 8 MINUTES. (I know this because the timer was on. It didn’t just seem fast.)
And battered frozen fish fillets take 25? Where’s the convenience?
One Year Ago: Crabcakes Benedict (with Classic Hollandaise and a lightened version!)
April 16 2009 | fish and veg | 12 Comments »