Sunday, October 20, 2019

Tilefish And Brussels Sprouts.

 The Hawthornes were just sitting there, eating lunch, 
minding their own business,
when I announced, "Dang!  This is really good!"

 And so I stopped eating midway through my plate,
grabbed my camera,
and shot what was left
so I could blog about it and tell you how it all came to be.
Because I'm a good person.
And you're welcome.

First, the tilefish.
Mild and sweet flavor.
Firm texture.
And it lends itself to any number of preparations.
Yesterday, I dredged it through a beaten egg,
then through breadcrumbs and cornmeal
and fried the fillets in peanut oil. 
Served them with a remoulade -
mayo, stone-ground mustard, minced onion,
 sweet relish, some lemon juice, 
a drizzling of Lea & Perrins, and a few dashes of hot sauce.

Today, I'm going for something lighter.
I sprinkled some cornstarch on a plate,
along with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper,
and lightly patted the mixture onto the surface of my fillets.
Then, I heated a film of peanut oil and a little butter in my skillet
over medium-high heat and sautéed for 2 minutes on each side.
You're not cooking the fish through;
you're just lightly browning the outside.
You're going to finish it off in the oven.

While the fillets are sautéeing,
prepare your baking dish.
 Place a few pats of butter in your dish
Slice some onion and red and orange peppers
and scatter about.
  Remove fish from skillet and place in prepared dish.
Pour a little white wine in the dish.
And bake at 350° for about 18 minutes.

By the way, my fillets are about 1 inch thick. 
If yours are thinner, cut your time back.

While the fish baked,
I prepared my Brussels sprouts -
an underrated vegetable if there ever was one.

Now, if you say you "don't like Brussels sprouts,"
then chances are you're not cooking them properly.
If overcooked, they become sulfurous and unpleasant.
If undercooked, they can be bitter.
So one must find the happy medium.
I'm slicing my sprouts in halves and quarters (depending on size),
sautéing them first to give them a nice char,
then tossing them with a Caesar-type dressing,
topping them with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan,
and finishing them off in the oven.
It works.

Prepare the sprouts:  Slice off the bottoms of each sprout, then halve the smaller ones and quarter the larger ones.  You want the slices all about the same size for uniform cooking.

Make the dressing:   My dressing is a variation of a Caesar dressing and works well with the Brussels Sprouts.  It's bold and pungent and complements the sprouts without overpowering them.
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1 TB mayonnaise 
3-4 TB Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
Mix the first five ingredients until incorporated, then slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Keep whisking until you have a nice emulsion.  Always taste-test.

Rosie Notes:  You could use real anchovies instead of paste, but I like to keep the paste on hand for occasions like this - when you only need a teaspoon or so.  As for the mayonnaise, this is something I never use in my standard Caesar dressing, but I'm using it here.  The mayonnaise serves a purpose - it helps hold the emulsion.  As for the olive oil, I'm using Bertolli extra light because of its neutral taste - it doesn't compete with the other flavors in the dressing.  As for the mustard, use the real deal - Grey Poupon Dijon mustard, not the Food Lion brand.  Big difference!  Most things I'll substitute the FL brand for except for two things - the Dijon mustard and Nestle's chocolate chips.  Food Lion brands don't come close on either.

Sauté the sprouts:  In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat a tablespoon of unsalted butter and a teaspoon or so of peanut oil until the butter is foamy.  Add the Brussels sprouts halves and quarters and cook, tossing, for 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to a buttered baking dish.  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and melt a big tablespoon of unsalted butter.  Pour in some panko unseasoned breadcrumbs (2-3 TB) and swish around for a bit, to coat and lightly toast.

Prepare the dish:  Toss the sautéed Brussels sprouts with enough of the Caesar dressing to lightly coat.  Lightly grate some Parmesan cheese over the top, evenly spread the sautéed panko over top, then give it another light grating of Parm.  Bake in a 350° oven for about 7 minutes.


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