Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fishing for Fast Food

Cooking, for me, comes it fits and spurts. Some days are crazy creative storms of flour, eggs, pastas, meats, vegetables, and several varieties of sugar, and other days leave me feeling desert dry to anything food related. No, that is not true, I should clarify - cooking related. My appetite for food rarely deserts me; blessing or curse, I don't know. 

Amazingly, food takes on the characteristics, the mood, the essence of its creator, and like a dog can smell fear, food can tell when you don't want to make it. It shows. 

Alas, like most of us 'servant-free' Americans (nod to Julia Child), we must still get food on the table somehow or another. Siren songs call from frozen connivence meals a la Costco...so easy...so fast...so NOT cooking. In-n-Out anyone? Know how many times I would have LOVED to buy a pizza from Costco for dinner? Feels like I am in confession. 

The American in me loves boxed mac and cheese and Hebrew National hotdogs, canned baked beans and takeout pizza, but my family, my commitment to making fresh food, limits those indulgences. Drat. Modify and adjust...

One of my very, very best fast (as in fast and easy to make) food recipes: broiled fish or chicken with panko bread crumbs and lemon-pasely-tyme sauce drizzled over after cooking. So extremely easy, delicious, impressive - you won't believe how gorgeous these flavors are, how crisp and crunchy the panko crust. No matter how much you don't want to cook, this simple recipe won't give you up. It is a soldier. 

The catch: do not substitute any other bread crumbs - Panko only. Broil the meat or fish an a parchment lined baking sheet. You will know when it is done by checking the internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer, but most likely it will be done when the panko crust browns. I have made this dish with thin chicken breast fillets, Dover Sole (thin white fish), and most luxuriously of all, wild Alaskan salmon filet. I can't imagine a better combination of flavors than trio salmon, panko and sauce in this recipe. 

Oven Roasted Salmon with Parsley and Thyme Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 6-8 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • Medium pinch of dry thyme
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds wild Alaskan salmon (if you can't get wild salmon, try harder to get it. Just kidding, any salmon will do, but wild can not be beat.)
  • 3 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs                                      

1. Preheat oven broiler.
2. Put the lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in a small bowl, and mix until salt is dissolved. Chop parsley and add thyme. Add the herbs to the bowl. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of olive oil until emulsified.
3. Season the fish with salt and pepper and coat with the bread crumbs. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on the fish and place it on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Check the fish for doneness after 15 minutes. A thermometer will register 145 degrees F. when done.
4. Transfer to a serving platter, pour the sauce over it and serve at once.

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