Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When you tire of time travel or fish and chips, you are tired of life.

First of all, I completed the Time Travelers (aka Gideon) trilogy by Buckley-Archer and enjoyed it from start to finish. It's great for kids or adults; it's even a wee bit educational. For example, there's an inside joke about Sam Johnson's famous London quote, references to the revolutionary writings of Thomas Paine and the events of the French Revolution, and a touching depiction of King George III's young family. I appreciate it when an author assumes her readers are educated and rewards them with applicable humor as well as suspense, but there's also a subtext throughout the trilogy that in order to appreciate the fantasy (or scientific invention) of time travel, it's essential to know a good bit about actual history. (That theme is similarly important in Connie Willis's books, insofar as the time travel department at Oxford is the history department.)

While you are reading your books set in London, enjoy some tasty fish and chips! Here's a recipe a partly invented for dinner the other night. I'll give credit to Mark Bittman for the original fish sandwich recipe and Giada de Laurentiis for the oven-baked fries recipe, but I've changed them enough to mostly claim them as my own.

Crunchy Fish Sandwiches with Lemon-Curry Mayo

Begin with 2 pounds fresh white fish (I used haddock. You could easily substitute cod or catfish--just make sure it's the freshest you can find. If you're a sad landlocked person, you can usually get local farm-raised catfish.). Cut the fillets into sandwich-sized pieces. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Dredge in a mixture of cornmeal and flour.
Pour just enough olive oil into a frying pan to cover the bottom and heat it on high until a spec a cornmeal sizzles when dropped in (this is the best part, as the fragrance of all that hot olive oil is ever so lovely). Add fish to pan a few pieces at a time and reduce heat. Fry about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

For the mayo, mix equal parts light mayo and light sour cream with fresh lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, lots of curry powder, and a dash of cayenne. Just keep seasoning and tasting until you like it.

Our grocery bakes tasty soft white Italian loaves. I cut thin slices of these and toasted them. Then I slathered them with mayo and added the fish and a handful of fresh arugula (the arugula is essential!).

Oven-baked Sweet Potato Fries

Peel a couple of sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/2- x 4-inch fries. Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425-450 for about 45 minutes until beginning to brown, stirring a couple of times. They won't be crisp like potato fries, but they'll taste great, especially dipped in the curry mayo.

Speaking of leftovers, the fish heats up nicely in the toaster oven. You can make yourself another sandwich the following day, or you can put some of the heated fish in a tortilla with fresh cilantro and a squirt of fresh lime for a simple, yummy fish taco.

Or you could just mash up the cold fish and sweet potatoes and eat them with your fingers, which is what Baby Ben did.


Jackamo said...


Geoff said...

Any farmed fish is just as bad as farmed chickens in cages.
Think of the salmon denied their journeys of thousands of miles.

Watoosa said...

Hello Mystery Geoff: I'm more concerned about the freshness and flavor of my food than its feelings. Think of me as the grizzly who eats the salmon and ruins its glorious journey. And also, as the grizzly who has fun instead of leaving drippy comments on other person's blogs.