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Monday, February 18, 2013

Delicious quick meal after a long drive

Today( well, actually, yesterday, since  this blog post was begun  prior to midnight and finished after!), Mr. G and  I drove up to Decatur, AL to visit our youngest daughter, who is in the hospital being treated for an infection. It was a lovely day for a drive, and we had a nice visit, or as nice a visit as one can have in that setting.

We thought  about stopping at a barbeque place and getting  something to bring home for supper, but discovered that our favorite  place was closed on Sundays.   I told Mr. G that we had a nice fillet of Alaska cod in the fridge that I'd bought yesterday. We could have that.    The drive home was  quite pleasant, with very little traffic on the interstate or on the side roads  when we exited the  interstate. I spent some time trying to think about what we could have  with the cod, and remembered that we had a mango and some pineapple in the fridge, and a lovely  mint plant in the greenhouse, so that was the  basis for the meal I  planned   on the trip.  

After fussing over the dogs and  feeding them, letting the cat out and back in, watering the greenhouse plants and setting up the lights in the greenhouse, I took inventory of what we had on hand for a quick supper.
I   decided to make a  mango, mint and pineapple salsa to go with the cod, and cook some rice as a side dish. Most of the salsa recipes I've seen call for red onion, lime and cilantro-none of which I had, and I don't really like cilantro anyway. So I dug  around in the fridge, cupboard and greenhouse and came up with a mango,  pineapple, an orange bell pepper, a jalapeno pepper, a lemon, a shallot and the mint.
 I  have mangled many mangoes , trying to  cut them, but finally bought a  mango slicer, shown here in the pic, hoping it would solve all my mango slicing problems. It didn't, because I just don't seem able to push it down over the mango with enough force, so I have reverted to my trusty chef's knife to do the job. I did find a few videos on how to slice a mango and  learned some handy little tricks. I've posted one  here that I found very helpful..
I cut the mango and pineapple into cubes,   removed the seeds from the peppers and chopped  the  bell pepper and jalapeno into  rather small pieces, and after rinsing , drying and stacking the mint leaves,  cut them into strips,  as in a chiffonade. I minced the shallot and  sauteed it in butter in a saucepan,  removing half when it was tender, and leaving  half in the pan  to  flavor the rice. I mixed the mango, pineapple, cooked shallots, peppers, and mint in a medium bowl, sprinkled  them with salt and peppe, added a few drops of lemon juice and  placed the bowl in the refrigerator while I prepared the rice and fish.
 To the butter/shallot mixture  remaining in the saucepan, I added 1/2 cup of jasmine rice and heated over medium heat, sautéed until the rice  turned translucent, then white. I then added a cup of  chicken broth to the saucepan, brought  it to a boil, turned  the  heat to low, covered the pot and cooked it on a  slow simmer for a bout  13 minutes until done.
While the rice was cooking  I  rinsed and dried the fish.  The fillet was  quite large, so I cut it into four sections. I used the "double dip" method to  batter the fish: first I  dredged the pieces in flour seasoned  with salt and pepper, then  dipped them in a beaten egg, and finally dredged them in cornmeal. I heated some olive oil  in a frying pan, and sautéed the fish, two pieces at a time, so as not to crowd them in the  pan, until it was browned to a lovely golden shade. Almost any flour/cornmeal  variation can be used here, depending  on how adventurous you are -- spelt flour, masa, polenta. I used unbleached white flour and organic yellow cornmeal this time, because that's what I had on hand.
The fish looked lovely on the plates snuggled next to the rice and blanketed with the salsa. And it tasted  good, too! A nice, quick, tasty, healthy  meal, coked from scratch and served up in a hurry. After all,  tonight was the season finale of  Downton Abbey and one  wouldn't want to be tethered to the stove at such a time and miss the whole thing, would one? ;-)

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