Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A fishy situation

Originally uploaded by chi liu.

Tonight was my first dinner party and granted, Dr G was my only guest, but there was not a spare seat in the house. I really must get more dining chairs.

But Dr G is also vegetarian, which always seems to fill me with dread. Not the fact that she doesn't eat meat, but the idea of catering for vegetarians always makes me nervous. I think it's because I never cook fish for myself. The only fish I will prepare for myself is tuna, and that's never more complicated than opening a can.

So tonight I was resolved to cook a recipe with halibut that I'd seen on The Food Network. Halibut is a terribly British fish as far as I'm concerned, having risen to prominence (in my own estimations anyway) from books and TV in Scotland. If they weren't cooking with halibut, it was salted cod. Needless to say, halibut seemed much less complicated.

So I went to my fishmonger tonight to get 2 halibut filets and I proudly brought them home, along with all the other ingredients, and took off the parchment paper and what, lo? SKIN. One side of each filet had skin on it. My recipe didn't call for skin. Oh man. First hurdle.

Yes friends, I took my handy Kitchen-Aid knife block set and dirtied every single knife until I found one suitable for removing the very very stubborn skin from my halibut filets. Granted I pulled the fish into several pieces while doing it, and counted at least 40 "F" words in the process but, in the end, it was a job well done.

Dinner was delicious and even my roast potatoes worked a treat. I made what was quite possibly the world's most boring side salad, but perhaps we could see a silver lining and call it "rustic" instead. The bowl I put it in was pretty anyway.

Dessert was lemon sorbet and vanilla gelato - straight out of their respective tubs, as well as little bars of Hershey's dark chocolate and really strong Italian coffee to wash it all down.

Dr G didn't contract mercury poisoning (at least not immediately), so I feel confident that I did a good job. I'm not sure I'll be in a screaming hurry to cook fish for myself again, or at least next time I'll make doubly sure that my fishmonger cleans the filets completely for me - I am no samurai when it comes to operating my knife set, though I am indeed typing this with all my digts in tact. Phew!

That's one successful dinner party down, and hopefully many more to follow.


kilabyte said...

... Nile Perch is the fish fillet to get. Dead set easy to cook up. When the flesh goes white and seems to want to easily pull-apart it's about right, then give it a quick couple extra minutes on each side to be certain. Lemon to taste, a bit of cracked pepper, tomato, cuey, beetroot and a buttered slice of dark, fresh, sweet-and-sour rye bread with carroway seeds. Total time .... ohhh, about 10 mins from start to eat.

Gab In The City said...

Mmmm that sounds good. Did Mum teach you to make that?