This blog is dedicated to a coworker who told me that she never makes fish because she doesn’t know how.
I used to be like that. Growing up, my mother never cooked fish, and so I never learned from her. The only fish we ate was tuna salad made from canned tuna. Edible and quick, but not inspiring to me. Actually, the opposite of inspiring. I ate it when I had to, but I did not like fish.
Then I came to work here at Bottom Line, where we began to regularly report about the health benefits of fish. I forced myself to eat it (mostly when dining out–I still wasn’t comfortable cooking it myself) whether I liked it or not!
I really started cooking fish when my family and I became members of a CSA (community-sponsored agriculture) that offered organic fish as an add-on. We bought a fish share to give it a try, and the fish was amazing! When buying fish at the supermarket, I choose only wild-caught varieties because those are most healthful and least likely to contain mercury and other toxins – I always shop the sales, and buy extra to freeze.
One of the things I love about making fish is that it is so fast to cook—perfect for weeknights, when I come home from work and want to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible.
I still don’t care for “fishy” fish, and I prepare it with different spices or yummy sauces that make the fish flavor essentially invisible. So there are no more excuses for anyone to not eat—and enjoy—fish!
For you committed fish haters, the coating that I used here is equally delicious on chicken. Same prep steps—you just need to cook it longer, either on the stove or bake in the oven.
- 4 servings fish fillets (I used whiting, but any type will do)
- ½ cup corn flour (I like the taste of the corn–plus it’s gluten free–but you can use any type of flour)
- ½ cup ground walnuts
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper if desired
- Olive oil spray
- Olive oil for cooking
Warning: Measurements are rough (honestly, I NEVER measure…I just shake or pour) so adjust it all to taste.
- Combine all dry ingredients into a wide, shallow bowl, and mix with a fork. (Shout out to my daughter Isabelle who, a long time ago, painted the bowl shown above.)
- Spread fillets on a large plate or paper towels, and spritz lightly on each side with olive oil spray. This helps the coating stick–and is so much easier than dipping in egg (besides the fact that my husband can’t have eggs), as many similar types of recipes tell you to do.
- One at a time, press fillets into the flour-and-walnut mixture. Set fillets on a clean plate until you are ready to cook.
- Warm up the pan to medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil to coat the bottom.
- Place fillets into the pan skin side up. Cook two to three minutes, depending on thickness. Flip and cook on the other side for another two to three minutes. Remove fillets to a serving plate or to individual plates.
- I served this fish with sautéed broccoli that I already had in the refrigerator and quinoa pasta with sesame sauce. Quinoa pasta has an unusual (read “far less tasty than regular pasta”) flavor, but the sesame sauce totally dominates in the most delicious way. My Family-Friendly Pasta and Veggie Bar includes the sesame sauce recipe. I threw all of the sauce ingredients over the cooked-and-drained pasta right in the pot, mixed it all up and garnished with fresh chives from my herb garden.
To prepare the broccoli the way I did:
- Wash broccoli and cut into pieces – including stems.
- Microwave on high for a few minutes until slightly cooked.
- Sauté in olive oil on medium heat to cook the rest of the way. (Microwaving before sautéing is faster than just sautéing and tastier than just microwaving.)
- A couple of minutes in, sprinkle with herbs–I used salt and onion powder, but garlic (powdered or fresh) is the classic choice—a couple of minutes in, and mix to distribute as you complete cooking. Total stove time is not more than five minutes.