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A step by step process to preparing a fish meal

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Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:39 am

I enjoy eating fish but I do not really like really fishy tasting fish. I have found one of my new favorite types of fish to cook at home. It is called Rockfish. It is meaty, comes boneless and the taste is mild.

We are going to do a meal that is plated like this, from bottom to the top: First the Rice, then San Marzano tomato base, then Rock fish, tartar sauce, green onion and celery leaves, and then toasted sesame seeds. Always, always read over recipes first to understand what you need and when you should start each step, etc.

  • First step, I would make the tomato base sauce and then it can really cook and simmer for the best flavor.
  • Second step, I would make the rice. Turn on high until it boils, then turn down low and simmer for a good 20 - 25 minutes.
  • Third step, I would make the tartar sauce then put into refrigerator to set until ready to use.
  • Fourth step, I would chop the parsley and the celery leaves for the garnish. Set aside in a bowl until you plate and garnish. 
  • Fifth step, egg and bread fish and then then cook.

For tomato base  

1 15-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes

1 Bay leaf

1 tablespoon butter

2 or more garlic cloves, chopped fine ( add to the garlic flavor you like. I like it mild because it can take over .)

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 tablespoon parsley

Salt and pepper ( S&P )

As you put the tomatoes into a bowl, take the tomatoes out of the can and squeeze with your hands and break them up as much as possible.  Then put them into a pan and heat with one Bay leaf, and the remaining ingredients listed above. Let this cook on high about 3 minutes until bubbling and then reduce to medium-low and just keep cooking and stir until it is reduced and thick. If you need to, you can add some of the can liquid into the tomatoes and keep cooking down until it's a nice semi-thick sauce.

Brown rice

Cook as directed and a basic ratio is 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. I put in some chicken stock for more flavor and cook as much rice as needed for the amount of fish and guests you are serving. Adjust to what you need. 1 cup uncooked rice will usually feed two people.

Tartar Sauce

1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise

Squeeze in a good 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of Sriracha Sauce (this is a chili sauce at all grocery stores in Chinese food section)

1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning, S&P and just mix up for use as a dollop on fish when you plate this meal )

Finishing pretties for garnish

Parsley and the bright green celery leaves in the heart of your celery, both chopped fine

Sesame Seeds — toast in a dry pan and heat to toast till light brown in color to top off for the finish right before serving.

For breading

2 dishes for breading and egg mixture

1 to 2 eggs depending on how much fish you are cooking

1 to 4 cups of Panko bread crumbs, depending on how much fish you are breading

In one bowl, mix up the egg with a fork and add just a dash of milk and some S & P  ( Salt & Pepper ) then whisk. In the other bowl, take the Panko bread crumbs and add some Old Bay seasoning. ( I love to use this seasoning for fish. It comes in a little tin can and you are able to purchase this at any grocery store where the spices are) and some oregano and thyme.

Dip fish into egg, then into bread crumbs and set aside until all are done. Heat the pan and add some oil. I use an oil called Mediterranean oil. This is a combination of olive, grape and Canola. Or, you can use just the Canola oil. When the pan is hot, cook each one about 4 minutes on each side until browned. When both sides are cooked, set aside. I put a lid partially over to keep warm but not letting it steam and lose the crispness of the cooked Panko. At this point, you can check the rice and taste the tomato base sauce, then begin to plate.

When plating, I use a large wide lipped soup bowl. I put in a good cup of rice, then place a good ladle of the tomato base sauce on top of the rice. I layer the breaded fish in a 'X " over the tomato, put on a dollop of some of the tartar sauce, then sprinkle with the parsley and celery leaves and a final sprinkling of the toasted sesame seeds.

The tomato base sauce, the garnish, the tartar sauce and even the rice can all be made ahead of time. Then you can heat the rice while cooking the fish, plate all and serve. You may also add some green veggies like broccoli, zucchini or spinach for more flavor and added color.

Hope you enjoy this meal and of course you can use any kind of fish, meat or even chicken for this same meal.

Shelly Guantone was raised in the Oakland Hills and lives in Lodi with her husband, Nick Guantone. They have three children and three grandchildren. She and her husband own and operate Guantonio’s Mobile Wood Fired Oven.




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