Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fried Fish and Fennel

I have a confession. I can't dredge and dip. Oh, I can dredge. And I can dip just fine. But when a recipe calls for coating in flour and egg, the train just can't make it to the station.

First off, why do some recipes say flour first and then egg when others go in the reverse? Maybe that nagging uncertainty is what does me in. When I read Mark Bittman's recipe for Red Fried Fish, in which he dips his fish into a batter including already combined egg and flour, I thought I'd found the answer. Unfortunately, I was out of eggs. And flour.

But the idea of dipping into a batter rather than dredging and dipping sounded like it would work, so I mixed up some blue cornmeal with water and spices, including paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, and a dash of turmeric.

It should here be noted that, if you ever want an incredibly crispy fried fish, a fish almost imprisoned in an impenetrable shell, you should use cornmeal instead of flour. And I've said it before but I'll say it again: blue corn meal, paprika, and turmeric each goes a long way in naturally saturating a dish with color.

Anytime I eat something fried, I eat something raw to lighten up the meal. Not only is it a balance of texture and temperature, but it shows that something plucked out of the ground and basically unadorned deserves to share a plate with something more meticulously prepared. Hence this gorgeous fennel, simply sliced raw with salt and pepper.

I would have spritzed on some lemon, but I didn't have that either. In a parallel universe, a more prepared Aaron Kagan was enjoying a nice fillet perfectly dipped and fried in flour and egg, his fennel nice and citric. But in this world, I was still happy, and full.

Stumble Upon Toolbar