Falling Short, But Better Than Fish Sticks

Today was a whirlwind of appointments, errands, and a meeting, but the sun finally came out after two solid days of much-needed rain. Among my stop was a local market, which has an adequate (if limited) fish counter. I got haddock, because it was fresh, and a little different from our normal choices. I’ve been chafing against our limited seafood choices up here, so yesterday I talked to our friend who teaches fish at the CIA and ordered some primo salmon for Christine’s birthday. Milo and I spent some time in the garden, which resulted in some planted seeds and some picked greens for a salad: spinach, galia endive, and two lettuces- all from last winter.

We had burdock in the fridge from some overeager digging the day before, so I peeled and sliced it and then cooked it the way we like, with soy sauce and vinegar. After about 45 minutes, the root coins were pleasingly savory, earthy, and al dente (right, Claudia?) I crusted the fish with coarse local polenta, garam masala, oregano, salt, cardamom, and chilli powder and crisped it up in a bit of oil. Meanwhile, I reheated the kabocha purée from the other day and washed and dressed the salad. It came together pretty well; as with most meals recently, I had to scramble to get it together and it fell short of what I had in mind. The nights where it all meets my expectations are the special nights, I guess, and an inevitable rare result of the whole having-a-job-and-family thing.

So crusty, aromatic fish, creamy, sweet squash, and earthy-nutty burdock all intertwined and made for a good dinner on a chilly spring evening; the rain has gone, and much colder air has blown in to replace it. Before bedtime we went out to cover the beds with plastic against our first frost in two weeks. To accompany, two wines; with the summer weather comes my frequent desire to have a white or pink aperitif followed by a more substantial red. Leftover lighter wines do just fine in the fridge overnight and offer a tired cook a lovely refreshment come prep time the next day. In this case, some 2006 Magnien Burgundy rosé followed by the rest of the La Spinetta nebbiolo from the other night.

11 comments to Falling Short, But Better Than Fish Sticks

  • cook eat FRET

    that T word makes me shudder… so i for one, as an avid reader of this blog, totally appreciate you not going there.

    that plate looks wonderful. i just are an amy’s veggie loaf. don’t tell anyone.

  • Brittany

    Looks like a pretty damn tasty plate of food to me.
    Actually, I’d like to devour it right now.
    As I type, a repair guy is working on my broken refrigerator. I haven’t had fresh, home cooked food in 2 days due to it’s
    broken-ness.
    I need a hug…

  • peter

    Claudia: I have no idea what that is, so your secret is safe with me.

    Brittany: Aaaaaw. Sorry. It will be fixed soon. Also, if he’s not too smelly, maybe fridge-repair guy will hug you. Now THERE is some food porn…

  • Brittany

    You truly are a sick sick man…….awesome.
    just for that, I had to go and put you on my blogroll.
    …..(he’s still working..ugh.)

  • Heather

    Heya Jube. That fish looks migh-t-fine. The burdock would be nice against some sweet squash or a yam. I’ve been developing a taste for it (burdock), but I still tend to think of it as medicine and not food. Powerful liver tonic, it is. :\

  • cook eat FRET

    it is an all natural, all vegetarian, wholesome FROZEN DINNER!

  • peter

    Brittany: Bwa chicka bwa bwaaa…

    Hey Heather- welcome back. I like burdock a lot (and the boy LOVES it; he cleared his plate of a big pile.) I made a burdock-shiitake gravy for Christmas a couple of years ago that was wicked. Best of all, I can grow it outside the garden because the deer ignore it.

    Claudia: Your secret is no longer safe with me.

  • Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

    How was that Spinetta Nebbiolo? I’ve drank it several times and was wondering what others thought of it..

  • peter

    Hank: I mentioned it in the previous post, and we’ve had it before (you can search the blog.) I love it, and prefer it to their Barbera; the extra 5 bucks is well worth it.

  • We Are Never Full

    this looks awesome! bet it’s kid-friendly too.

  • peter

    He loved it.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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