Sunday, April 15, 2012
Off the Deep End to Catch Some Grilled Smelt
One of the great benefits of writing your own food blog is that you get to pick your own assignments. All you have to do is choose one of your favorite foods, cook it, photograph it, and write a couple of paragraphs introducing it. But in all of us is a small, if sometimes irksome, voice that urges and cajoles us to take a walk on the wild side, stray from the familiar, and try something new. I listened to that voice today and am unsure still as to whether or not it was advice worth heeding.
Today's foray into the unknown and dangerous was twofold. First, I bought raw unfrozen fish on a Sunday from the supermarket. Second, they were smelt-- a fish intended to be eaten with little itsy-bitsy vertebrae, skin, fins, and all. Chalk this up to the sacrifices we make for our more daring and health conscious husbands.
The preparation of the slippery and silver little fish was simple enough. With a brushing of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper they were ready for direct grilling on the trusty old Weber. Two to three minutes a side was all it took to cook them through, but the first lesson learned was that the fish basket was probably the way to go as their little bodies did not hold up so well to the somewhat savage grill tongs.
Along side I served a simple corn and tomato salad (yet a third risk as both of these ingredients are out of season) dressed with a vinaigrette atop of couscous. The psychic energy required to munch the little fish tails (which were really quite tasty-- something of a fishy potato chip) was surprising. I'm sure I'm healthier for all of these efforts, and I certainly upped my omnivore score, yet still, I kinda wish I'd had pizza. It was good, but not something I'll find myself dreaming about. I think I'll try them fried next time.
Corn & Tomato Salad
1/4 C olive oil
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1 ts salt
1/4 ts pepper
1/2 ts honey
1 ts of Dijon mustard
Whisk until incorporated. While this is not an official emulsification, for our purposes, it shall suffice.
1/2 carton of cherry tomatoes cut into halves
1 small diced shallot
5 ears of corn with the kernels cut off (boil water, add peeled ears of corn, turn off heat and let sit for 4 minutes. Then cut kernels off the cob.)
2 ts of minced tarragon
Stir and serve with couscous (directions are on the box) and grilled fish. You can order pizza for dessert.