Ah, ragazzi, here is the good news. Annalena is replete with recipes to send to this blog, for you to enjoy, or not. The not so good news, is that every time she has a good recipe in mind, another one comes along which pushes the first one away, and given that Annalena's mind, especially her memory, is not as good as it once was, it makes things a bit more challenging. Per esempio, this weekend past, she made the "classic" accompaniment to the Zuni roast chicken recipe posted here oh, so long ago: bread salad. It is good, and it will be here. It was supposed to be here already. But then... she made pickled golden beets and they are GOOD. And THEY were to come on first. BUT.... as Annalena was feeling virtuous over her occasional bouts of healthy eating, and the fish recipe of yesterday was SUPPOSED to go up last week, that took precedent. And then, last night, she made this. And given the positive reinforcement she received from YOU, ragazzi, about the broiled fish recipe, she had to give you yet another fish dish, which is again, of lower calories.
See, here is how it happens with Annalena and fish: on Mondays, she heads to the Farmers Market, to visit the Karlin stand, give Wade grief, conspire with Jan, and buy fish. This being a local stand, which sells what they catch, one never knows what is going to be there. With exceptions. Scallops are pretty much a constant, as are flounder. And both are terrific. But the challenge of something "NEW" always informs Annalena's cooking, as it should yours. Yesterday, there was tilefish on the "menu" at the stand. It is not there frequently. Annalena suspects that a few of them may have gotten misdirected in transit, and wound up in Cap Karlin's nets. And a scant pound of the filets wound up in Annalena's bag, with the thought "Oh dear, what SHALL we do with this ?" (well, the thought was a bit more foul). Annalena does have her share of standard recipes, but she consults frequently with one of Mark Bittman's first book, on fish cookery. He had a recipe for tilefish that sounded wonderful, and it is.
But first... Annalena suggests that you perhaps google images of tilefish, for these are beautiful fish. She remembers that this type was much more prevalent in fish markets in her younger days, when it was available frequently as steaks, and one could see the vivid interplay of blue and yellow from the fish skin.
One does eat with one's eyes, but one also eats with a memory of what things taste like. Annalena remembered how good the fish tasted, and the fact that the available selection was filets, did not stop her. Nor should it stop you. You should make this recipe. EVERY ONE OF YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE, and especially those of you who are, in fact, looking for tasty ways to reduce the fats that you eat. Because this one.... OH, yum.
Ok, let us start. You will need these ingredients: the tilefish: 3/4 to 1 pound. A cup of clam juice, or fish stock, or chicken stock. Some really good quality soy sauce (you should know that, like wine, soy sauce does come in different levels of quality and type, way beyond "low salt" and "regular" DO visit an Asian grocery store and ask). You will only need a tablespoon of it, but it should be the best you can find. And some scallions/green garlic/spring onions/baby leeks. You all know what she means by this, yes? Finally, a plastic bag with about a cup of flour in it, with a large pinch of salt and some pepper, and a non-stick pan.
Your fish will probably come in one, large piece. Cut it into the number of pieces you will need. Then, put it in the bag, with the seasoned flour, and shake to coat. While you need a cup of flour to do this, you will ultimately be using about two teaspoons of it. If you can figure out a way to use less flour (for this must be tossed after it is done), then by all means.
Now, put two tablespoons (remember, ragazzi, we MEASURE when we are looking to reduce calories. We do NOT eyeball), into a nonstick pan, and start heating it. Perhaps you should check beforehand, to make sure your fish will all fit into the pan. Annalena did so, and was glad she cut her large piece into two, smaller pieces.
You really need to let the oil get hot here, for a very simple reason: nothing will suck up fat faster than flour. If the oil is hot, a sear will occur and the oil will not be absorbed as quickly as if it is not. In any event, you will probably use all the oil here, but worry not. Sear the fish for two minutes or so, on each side, just to crisp it a bit. Put it on a plate while you move to the next step, with is sauteeing your onion entity. These, you should slice into thin coins, until you have a good 1/2-3/4 cup of them. As with your car, "check the oil." If there is none in the pan, add another tablespoon. If there is very little, add it anyway. You will probably need to do this. Heat it up, and saute' the onion coins for about three minutes, adding a bit of salt. Use medium heat, and try not to brown them too much. Spoon them out of the pan.
Add the clam juice/ fish stock/chicken stock to the pan together with the soy sauce (one tablespoon, remember?), and then gently place the fish into the pan. Keep the heat low, and cook for about five minutes on one side. Now, with a more than usual modicum of care, get a paddle, and flip the fish pieces, and cook them for another three minutes. (You might want to add some sliced ginger to this cooking liquid. Next time for Annalena).
You will not be using the liquid, unless you wish to reduce it and drizzle it over your fish, which is totally unnecessary. Rather, plate your fish, spoon the green onions over it, and... VOILA.
Now, let's go back through that recipe, shall we? Three tablespoons of fat, two teaspoons of flour, a pound of fish, a cup of onions, clam juice and soy sauce. That sounds not too bad, oui?
So, ragazzi, do treat yourself to this. In Annalena's view, this was about as close to something you could get in a restaurant as you will get at home. Enjoy it.