I Believe I Can Fry

When it’s hot, it’s hard to cook. But the cravings of children (besides ice cream, that is) rarely correlate with the ambient temperature. So it was that I ended up cooking the other night, albeit as little as possible.

Gerard had brought over some goodies the night before; Mary was up from the city with a ton of wines to try so he brought over skate wings and I just gave them the seasoned flour/sautée in butter/brown the butter with garlic and capers, deglaze with vinegar treatment and they were excellent.

He also brought a haddock, in the form of two fillets, so that’s what needed eating and the clamorous child seized upon that fact and insisted that it become fish and chips. Given the shortage of oil on hand—an inch of peanut at the bottle’s bottom—I successfully negotiated away the chips, which are much more work and need more oil. I cut up the fish, floured it, and fried the pieces in batches. I also threw in fat slices of a skinny white eggplant from the garden. While they cooked, I made a quick tartar sauce with homemade crème fraîche, mayonnaise, mustard, capers, scallions, and lime juice. This was a good dish; it held the stove heat to a minimum and the flavors really hit the pub fare spot while the portions kept it heat and health appropriate.

The second course was salade de chèvre chaud; frisée from the garden (the lettuces are done for now, but the fall plantings are in and should be ready soon) dressed with the standard vinaigrette. The garnish was slices of the sourdough I baked early in the morning before it got too hot with wedges of a nice chèvre toaster-welded to them.

Just the right size, minimal heating, and the varied pleasures of two standards: a light yet substantial meal that deftly avoided the culinary perils of plate fatigue, flop sweat, and food coma like Odysseus threading the needle between Scylla and Charybdis without dampening his tunic. The next day it got even hotter, so there was grilling and smoking. Stay tuned.

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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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