I once calculated that I have made about 6,000 meals for my kids. I’m not a chef, I’m a writer. That means I am well-versed in making countless decisions on a daily basis. Therein lies the key to feeding children, while not driving yourself crazy. Variety, bravery and reckless abandon.
So we’re making fish tonight, right? Let’s save the sustainability, farm-raised versus not, and other socio-political discussions for another time. Mind you, it matters. A lot! But you just got to the store, the sitter meter is running and you had a long day. Dinner and a drink can happen at the same time. Let’s make some choices.
I scanned the fishmonger case and chose flounder. It looked good, was not too expensive, and it is a white fish, amenable to all sorts of flavors and prep. Done.
Next, contemplate the might of the garden. What do your kids like? What do you like? The next great thing about fish is that it goes with everything! I chose green onions and mushrooms. But you can do this recipe with tomatoes, carrots, peppers, tiny diced red or white potatoes – whatever everyone likes.
From here, you pour a crisp glass of Sauvignon blanc, sharpen your knives, and get to work. You chop a little of this, salt and pepper that, get everything into one pan and away you go. While the fish is cooking, boil some water for spaghetti and a can of sauce (yes, you are allowed to skimp on the home-made; hey, we’re human here!). Or make some rice or throw some Tater Tots in the oven. If your kids are refined and green enough, just whip up an awesome salad.
The whole meal takes 20 minutes start to finish, you can customize it to a thousand different tastes, and bonus time? It’s actually good for you. Bon appetit!
The recipe is for one hungry adult. Figure a half pound of fish or so per person (less if not a big eater). With the vegetables, you are going for the smother effect, so you can double or triple it, or use a smaller amount to the taste of your audience.
• 1/2 lb. fresh flounder or similarly white fish
• A half-dozen or so brown cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced thin or diced
• 3 or 4 long crisp scallion stalks, sliced into small rounds
• A small bowl of ordinary flour, a 1/4 cup or less is fine
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and 3 or 4 tsp of butter
• Salt & pepper to taste
1.) Dry the fish with a paper towel.
2.) Salt and pepper both sides and then shake some flour over both sides of the filet. Pat it in gently with your hand.
3.) Heat the oil to a good solid medium (but not searing hot) and add the fish. Sip your wine and do not touch the fish (!!) for 3-4 minutes. When you sense it is browned on one side, carefully flip it to the other and do the same.
4.) With a spatula, remove your beautifully browned filet(s) to a plate.
5.) Add the butter to the pan and lower the heat a bit. Sauté the garlic for a minute, then add the mushrooms. Cook them down (they shrink, a lot!) for 3-4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
6.) Add the green onions and sauté for another minute or so.
7.) Move the scallions and mushrooms to the side. With the spatula, carefully add your fish to the pan. Then, with a spoon, ladle the sauté mix on top to heat and marry the dish.
8.) Once hot, again with spatula, plate each piece of fish and veggies and dinner is ready.