Monday, December 29, 2008

Is "pan seared" really just a fancy way of saying "fried in butter"...?

I love cooking for st., for two very good reasons:

1. She doesn't cook herself, so she's super appreciative and treats me like a rock star chef every time I prepare her a meal, and

2. She has eaten a lot of very excellent food in her lifetime, so she knows the difference between crap and a decent meal.

oh...and another reason:

3. Her kitchen is brand new with fabulous appliances and a full set-up of cooking utensils, so I get to do things the way they are supposed to be done, instead of rigging it, the way I so often have to in my own kitchen.

She also knows a lot more about steak than I do, which will come in handy if I ever try my hand at that, but I digress.

Naturally, then, I jump at any chance to cook for her. On the menu last night: Seared red snapper with fresh herbs and lemon, and Roasted cherry tomatoes with mint, both from (and I swear I am taking a month break from this cookbook) The Gourmet Cookbook.

Now...the red snapper recipe is actually for sea bass, but supposedly red snapper was an acceptable alternative, and Whole Foods didn't have any sea bass fillets, so red snapper it was. I don't have a lot of experience cooking with fish and for some reason I tend to get a bit anxious over it; am I cooking it enough, am I overcooking it, fret, fret, fret. I did fret over this recipe, and I probably did overcook it slightly, but even so, this turned out delicious. Probably for two reasons (I'm into reasons lists today, apparently):

1. By "pan searing"...I mean "frying in butter"...and frying in butter is GOOD. No, it's not just GOOD, it's GOD.

2. The sauce was divine....lemon juice, dry white wine (I used Naia, a Spanish white that's a bit fruity, fruity sounds like perhaps not the best choice, but my unsophisticated palate loved it), unsalted butter, and freshly chopped dill and chives. This is the kind of sauce that activates all of your taste buds.

I only had one regret with this dish, and st. will agree with me: I should have cooked some rice, or served with a baguette, to sop up the delicious sauce. We actually scrounged up some sandwich bread, out of desperation, to do this. We're not proud.

The roasted cherry tomatoes - this has to be the healthiest, most economical, tastiest and easiest recipe I have ever come across. It's such a favorite that I made it!

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