Thursday, 23 April 2009

SOLE ful dinner and contemplative tomorrows

So Sole it is…I flew back from a vacation with my friends and family in the U.S. and slept soundly last night. This morning I was up and out early to spend a day working for the local Oxfam shop here in Durham, UK. By the time I took a lunch break, I knew it was time to hit the fish stand…so i bought a lil sole that was fresh and some sampphire ( sea asparagus) and then hit the produce stand for some essentials to stock my fridge till my weekly veg box gets delivered next week. I bought some carrots, fennel, parsley, beets with their greens, huge leeks, potatoes, etc…

When the day ended and the sun was still shining, I knew it must be spring here in England

…and it was time for a bit of Soulful Sole...


6 cups boiling water

oven at 375

2 cups brown rice, rinsed

1 leek, cleaned and slice the white into thin rounds ( save dark green in freezer for stocks)

1 cup samphire ( soaked in cold water for 10 minutes)

1 bulb fennel-core removed, bulb cut in half, and sliced thinly

s,p ( salt and pepper)

2 T veg oil

Flour ( wheat, corn, soy…any that is in the cabinet)

lemon (use any citrus you desire)

parsley( use any fresh herb).. cilantro with lime, parlsey with lemon, orange with dill, etc…play around

tabasco sauce


1 Sole ( 4 filets, i suggest learning to filet the fish yourself to save the bones for a soup base…but email me if you want that next level of info)

So the idea is to always get the longest cooking items started first…

1. Pour boiling water in pan, and add a touch of salt and the rice…bring to boil and simmer uncovered till cooked (depending on rice type time will change…I would give 30 minutes for brown…this style of cooking rice is as if its pasta…lots of water, lot less rice) and then strain rice into a colander and put back in pot off heat to steam for 10-20 minutes.

2. While rice is starting to boil, simmer sammphire in a small pan of water for 2-3 minutes until less salty and still crunchy…Drain and rinse in cold water till chilled ( or place in bowl of ice water to chill).

3. ONce rice is steaming it is time to heat a saute pan ( i prefer black steel, but non stick is easiest, and any any any pan will do) over medium high heat. Sprinkle the fish with salt, pepper, and a lil flour .


4. Add small amount of veg oil to pan. Take one filet in your hand and while holding the pan in your other hand, set the fish in the pan by brushing it AWAY from you into the pan as you move the pan to make sure the fish does not stick…then continue setting this piece of fish in the pan and shake the pan to again make sure it does not stick…once you get the hang of it you will find this proccess to be one continuous motion…as if you were painting the pan with your piece of fish (AWAY FROM YOU ALWAYS TO KEEP OIL SPLATTERS FROM HITTING YOU)…so then repeat the proccess with the other pieces of fish and cook for about 1 minute on each side if very small fillets (less than a few ounces) or a bit longer if necessary…then with a spatula, gently turn the fish filets over, again making sure not to do this in the direction that would cause sizzling oil to hit your wrists!!!

5. Welll that was a bit wordy…but now that you have cooked the fish without it sticking…place them on a platter and cover it off the heat. IF you have not burned your pan, add a bit more oil if necessary and toss in your veggies ( fennel, leek, sammphire or any other veg you got) and saute ( which means to JUMP…so shake that pan) for a minute and the veg is still crunchy…add a few drops of tabasco, a grind of pepper ( no salt if you have samphire…as its already salty) and then remove from heat

6. Throw the veggies on top of the fish filets…sprinkle with fresh herbs, add a squueze of citrus and serve with your brown rice…

CONTEMPLATIVE TOMORROWS…making leftovers while the main meal is cooking…and yes we will still be done in an hour

While the rice was simmering …i washed 8 small potatoes, tossed them in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and placed them in the preheated oven…always nice to have some baked lil potatoes to use for a snack( baby stuffed potatoes), smashed, or to bulk up a soup

I also took a bunch of beets, washed them, and put them in a small casserole with s,p, red wine vinegar and olive oil ( just enough to cover bottom of pan)…put tin foil on it and placed in oven as well……they will take about an hour depending on size of beets ( test by inserting a small knife in one…if the knife can enter the beet easily…they are done)

As for the beet greens, I saved the leaves and blanched ( quickly boil till softened but not soft) the red beet stalks

And i soaked some dried chick peas in water for the next couple days ( hummus is always a good snack food to have around, as well chick peas are great in simple salads to add a bit o protein)

What is the plan…not sure…but i love eating beet stems as if they were pasta..and maybe i will pull some local sausages from my freezer, and make a nice lil dish of beets three ways ( stems blanched, saute of leaves, bulb made into a quick sauce) with spicy lamb or pork sausage????

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