“If you’re serious about eating sustainable fish, you may have given up on the most fundamental of all: the white fillet. After nearly exhausting cod stocks 20 years ago, we have gone through a dozen or more alternatives, from red snapper to orange roughy to so-called Chilean sea bass, and fished them all practically out of existence.
Now it seems difficult to know which fish are managed well enough to eat without guilt. (As it happens, cod, of all things, isn’t bad right now, as long as it isn’t caught by a trawler.) But if you buy from a reliable store, like Target, Wegmans or Whole Foods, which have adopted seafood-sustainability practices far more effectively than many other major retailers, or consult online sources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, you can eat white-fleshed fish without guilt.
The next problem is that you may wind up buying a fish with which you’re unfamiliar. Is it cod, catfish, sea bass, halibut, grouper, tilefish, haddock, some form of snapper — or what?
The good news is that it barely makes any difference. You can cook any white fillet the same way you cook any other white fillet: broiled, sautéed, roasted or poached, and teamed with just about any seasoning you can think of, from the obvious, likeand capers, to the semiexotic, like sugar and fish sauce. (In this recipe chart, I’m assuming you’ll always use salt and pepper.) And this isn’t just me giving you permission or a barely acceptable compromise. It works.
The chart on the following page provides ideas for cooking 1½ pounds of white fillet, whether whole or cut into individual portions. None of these recipes take more than half an hour from start to finish; thicker pieces of fish will cook in 15 minutes or less, thinner pieces in under 10. You can tell that any fillet is done when it’s opaque and a thin-bladed knife meets little resistance when you use it to poke the thickest part of the fish.
Cooking white fish is easy. The hard part — besides figuring out what’s sustainable — is choosing the recipe.”
Go to the article for tips and recipes to BROIL, SAUTE, ROAST, and POACH white fish!
Courtney and I are both fans of Mark Bittman. His book, “How to Cook Everything,” is slowly falling apart, we use it so much. We tend to cook a lot on the fly – okay, *I* do that, and Courtney uses her spiffy recipes – but when we need to look up basics, we turn to Bittman. Ice cream, pancakes, waffles (omg – I’m making myself hungry) – how to fry up a good batch of chicken. That’s what we use that book for.
As many of you know, since a lot of you are foodies like us, Bittman writes for the NY Times. Deb H., of Deb in Mad City, spotted this article and sent it on to us. At first, I wondered why Courtney didn’t bring this one to my attention, since I know she reads his column pretty faithfully, but I think I know the reason now. After reading this, I sent her an email and said, “We’re going there.”
Click the title below to read the full article and how he fully equips a basic kitchen for $300 or so – pots, pans, utensils and all.
YOU can live without these 10 kitchen items:
BREAD MACHINE You can buy mediocre bread easily enough, or make the real thing without much practice.
MICROWAVE If you do a lot of reheating or fast (and damaging) defrosting, you may want one. But essential? No. And think about that counter space!
STAND MIXER Unless you’re a baking fanatic, it takes up too much room to justify it. A good whisk or a crummy handheld mixer will do fine.
BONING/FILLETING KNIVES Really? You’re a butcher now? Or a fishmonger? If so, go ahead, by all means. But I haven’t used my boning knife in years. (It’s pretty, though.)
WOK Counterproductive without a good wok station equipped with a high-B.T.U. burner. (There’s a nice setup at Bowery Restaurant Supply for $1,400 if you have the cash and the space.)
STOCKPOT The pot you use for boiling pasta will suffice, until you start making gallons of stock at a time.
PRESSURE COOKER It’s useful, but do you need one? No.
ANYTHING MADE OF COPPER More trouble than it’s worth, unless you have a pine-paneled wall you want to decorate.
RICE COOKER Yes, if you eat rice twice daily. Otherwise, no.
COUNTERTOP CONVECTION OVEN, ROTISSERIE, OR “ROASTER” Only if you’re a sucker for late-night cooking infomercials. “