About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fish is the New Chicken

Fish has started to creep into my Monday night ritual of roast chicken, indeed, fish is showing up a number of times a week on my plate.  We're constantly bombarded with the virtues of fish and I'm not going to disagree with anything that will keep my arteries flexible, but all the Omega fatty acids in the universe simply do not hold a candle to one of my favorite dishes, a fine roast chicken. Until recently, Monday night was the proper time, in my opinion, for roast chicken.  Monday is the first day of the working week and the day after the weekend when we have indulged in some excess or departed from the responsibilities and disciplines of our weekday lives.  Unlike the Dowager Countess Grantham, of Downton Abbey, whose classic querie, "What is a weekend?", we live for the weekend. Monday is the time to button up, settle down and get back to work.  Roast chicken  on Monday symbolizes a certain virtuous American standard. Didn't Herbert Hoover run on a platform of "a chicken in every pot"? 

Now comes the fish swimming into favor for health reasons.  When I was growing up fish used to be a Friday event based on the Catholic ritual of giving up meat as a sign of sacrifice.  My school served fish sticks or tuna salad on Friday. Now it's the other way around.  Red meat has fallen from grace with the trend of "lite" foods and fish has become the darling.  More and more I find myself preparing fish on Monday for the same reasons I used to prepare a roast chicken.  A salmon fillet on Monday snaps us back into place from the socializing and relaxation of the weekend and might erase the effects of a hamburger and fries.  I like fish, but it's a bit more duty that delight on Monday. Fish was rarely served as a main course until the American Heart Association and insurance companies took aim at heart disease and the health craze took shape in the 1970s.

We visited Alaska a while back and ate salmon at every meal, I think.  We even sampled a white variety that isn't found it the lower 40 and is their finest quality.  I asked a young fishing guide what they ate for Thanksgiving and he said, "salmon". They had deer and elk in their freezer as a local staple also. Then I asked if he ever ate chicken and he said, "No, it's not good by the time it reaches us."  I began to consider the probability that there wasn't a single live chicken in Alaska. How grim!
Sushi has come to stay and guess what?  It's not made with chicken (but that's a thought).  No, it's got queer ingredients like raw fish and eel all wrapped up in seaweed paper.  If you consider how something that strange got it's foot in the door, it might have to do with the low instance of heart disease in Japan. You're not going to get heavy and clog up your arteries eating small bites of rice and raw fish. I took a course in sushi a while back and learned the basics.  It's more about technique than taste and I don't see the point in investing in the equipment but it's an amusing bite now and then.
Fish is just as diverse as chicken and maybe more so because there are so many varieties.  Last month I posted a recipe for roasted red pepper coulis as the perfect sauce to accompany a lightly smoked white fish but didn't discuss the fish.  I adore lightly smoked or grilled fish of any kind. Most white fish has little flavor of its' own and a few minutes in a stove top smoker or grilled over flame does wonders for talapia, halibut, amber jack, cod, mahi mahi to name a few.  Grilling takes some expertise and I'll refer you to Steven Raichlen to hone that skill.  All I can add, is be sure to really oil that grate.

I've only posted 2 fish recipes out of 122 and 0 beef. Both need more attention from me.  Chicken is dear to my heart but my heart really needs the fish.

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