Peanut Butter and Purple Onions

Sounds crazy until you try it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fish for One

I need to correct an error in a prior post. It is simply no longer true that steamed mussels is the easiest seafood dish I know. Not that the mussels aren't impossibly easy -- they are. (Make them!) But now I have an even simpler preparation to share.

The problem in our apartment is that Dimples generally doesn't eat things that swim. (Two exceptions: shrimp -- to which I am allergic -- and tuna, as long as it's converted into a sandwich filling.) So, although I have no objection to leftovers on principle, in reality, seafood recipes that make more than two servings rarely catch my eye.

So when I saw Giada folding individual pieces of fish into aluminum foil packets, I perked up. Aha! It doesn't get much more serving-for-one than that. Plus, it includes its own side dish -- how cool is that?

So I made it, with the toppings adjusted down from four servings, and -- wow. The fish steams to delicate perfection inside its packet, the spinach wilts under the gingery garlicky onslaught, and the whole process takes only 20 minutes from the moment I turn on the oven to the second I sit down to steamy goodness in a bowl. Meanwhile, I am doing essentially nothing to help this dish along. Ordering a pizza takes more effort. Seriously.

You can see Giada's original recipe here, but this is a very flexible dish, allowing you to substitute different salty, spicy, or sweet components nearly at will. And it will STILL be the easiest fish recipe around.

Can I repeat the part about how it's perfect for one person? How about the part where I tell you how easy it is? How about I just give you the recipe already?

Steamed Fish for One
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

Serves, uh, 1.

1 4-oz piece of flaky-rather-than-steaky fish (cod's my favorite, but salmon works well too)
3-4 c. baby spinach
1-2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil or toasted sesame oil
0.5 tsp. chile oil or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes or 5-6 pickled jalapeno slices or 1 tsp. Tabasco (all spicy components optional)
squeeze of lemon or lime or orange or sprinkle of unsweetened rice vinegar or quick dash of lemon or orange zest

Start your wristwatch timer.

Heat the oven to 400. Tear off a 12" square of aluminum foil. Pile up the baby spinach in the center of the foil, then place the fish atop the heap. Sprinkle over the ginger and garlic (I like to use the Microplane directly over the fish). Pour the soy sauce over, being careful not to let it trickle off the foil. Dribble or sprinkle the additional flavorings you're using over the fish.

Twist up the sides of the foil and seal together to make a shiny packet of goodness. Put it on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven for ten minutes. Take it out and let it rest for 2-3 minutes before you open it over a large bowl to catch the fish, spinach, and glorious briny broth.

* I calculate Giada's original recipe (which includes Marsala) at 4 points for the fish and spinach both. How cool is that?
* My biggest complaint about this dish is that it cools very quickly once it's in my bowl, but that just means I eat it rather speedily (some could say greedily).


  • At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Tania said…

    Beautiful recipe, BNA! How simple and delicious, and a total boon for those of us who usually cook for one. I'm adding this to my collection of quickie weeknight recipes ... and I'll bet it is easier than ordering pizza.

  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger PatL said…

    I reckon this qualifies for Sweetnicks' ARF Tuesday! If she has one this week.

  • At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Rorie said…

    Oh, I love a recipe that's simple and delicious! I will definitely be trying this!

  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger BNA said…

    Not only is it easier, Tania, but it's actually a healthful dish -- not that I let that stand between me and pizza, of course. But I find I do enjoy a little self-righteous thrill when I make this instead.

    Good point, Patl! I'm going to try to post for that tonight.

    You'll really like it, Rorie, and find yourself making it almost constantly (at least if you're anything like me, you will)!

  • At 4:36 PM, Anonymous vanessa said…

    I'm a big fan of the aluminum pockets. The recipe looks delicious, BNA!

  • At 4:44 PM, Blogger Devorit said…

    Incredibly, gloriously yummy. And it gave me a swelling feeling of accomplishment for having finally cooked fish! I'm very proud. So glad you shared this one.


Post a Comment

<< Home