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fishwhen my father fillets a fish, the results are perfect every time. slash, slash! here is the skin, here is the pale pink tender meat. my father has always been one of those terrifyingly competent people, which is one of the many things i admire about him. when i fillet a fish – let’s just be diplomatic and say that i could do with some more practise. and that it’s a good thing my filleting is usually for dicing said fillet into a soup. i imagine i shall eventually get the hang of it. i hope. i wouldn’t want to shame the family name, after all.

in the meantime, however, it is a good thing that it is perfectly possible to cook a delicious and quite impressive (even if i do say so myself (my father taught me a long time ago, and it has served me well)) fish with no filleting involved whatsoever. and i thought, hang on, some (poor real fish-deprived, fish-finger-eating (fish don’t have fingers! this should make you suspicious)) people might not know this. and it is my Duty and Honour etc, etc, to inform them! and so i shall.

here is How:

take your fish. (mr dinner up there is an arctic char, but it works perfectly fine for any kind of salmon-cousin. probably for white fish, too, but i am ever a purist). if you got the fish from, say, a store (or your father), then it is most likely already gutted. if you caught it yourself (congratulations!) then you should ideally have done that right after the actual catching. carefully. you don’t want to nick the gall bladder. no amount of spice disguises that.

no matter where your fish is from, rinse it off in cold water. (if you’re doing this in the lake you caught him in, you want to hold on tight. they are Slippery When Dead, too.) put it in a roasting pan. (either line the pan with parchment paper or cover it in a layer of rock salt.) put a fair amount of salt inside the fish, too. a bit more than you think it needs (unless you’re a notorious oversalter). wash a lemon thoroughly and cut a few thin slices. these also go inside mr dinner. then finally, fill whatever space is left with herbs of your choice (dill, as i’ve used here, is Traditional, but be a rebel!).

put your mr dinner in the middle of the oven at about 200°C. he’s done when the skin lifts off the flesh when you poke him with a fork. serve with potatoes and cold sauce (sourcream+dill+chives). done!

(you can also wrap him in aluminium foil and cook him on an open fire. it’s more atmospheric.)

(i meant to put mr dinner’s post-makeover picture here, but i ate him all. sorry.)

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