simple cookery- the art of preparing nourishing meals with the most basic ingredients. A series of not-so-much recipes, as ideas, techniques, flavor combinations.
This dish was somewhat revolutionary for me. I’m somewhat known for throwing together random things in the kitchen and coming up with a meal. Still when a dear friend prepared this on a visit to our place one day, it was like a epiphany for me. So simple! So easy! So delicious! Why hadn’t I thought of that?!? I started wondering where else I was over-thinking and over-working our meals. I’ll admit this inspired several weeks of take all the vegetables you have, add in the protein you have, maybe a little seasoning and cook it up, meals for me.
My friend says that this is the best way to stretch out a pound of fish, and I have to agree. You start with your veggies. Potatoes, onions, carrots and celery would be traditional choices. I usually forgo the potatoes in favor of something a little more nutrient dense. Many times I’ve made it with cauliflower or yams. I’m sure there is any number of vegetable combinations that would work here. Chop everything up and put it in your pan with a spoonful of fat. As always, I think cast iron is the best choice. I have an enameled dutch oven that I use for this type of dish. For fat, use whatever you have on hand that sounds good to you, butter, the oil of your choice. Personally, I use the traditional bacon grease.
So, heat up your fat and vegetables and cook, stirring often, over say a medium heat for a few minutes and let things start to soften up. I usually add in a sprinkle of salt. I’m sure it’s just in my head, but I swear that salt makes onions cook faster. Add some broth (or water in a pinch), about enough to cover the veggies. Cover and simmer until everything is just about done. You can add in a bay leaf if you like. I like to tear up some dulse and toss it on top. It adds lots of nutrients and trace minerals, a punch of color and a deeper, richer flavor. I also tend to add in a bit of tarragon at some point in the cooking process, just because I like tarragon with fish.
We usually use tilapia. It’s very mild, readily available and not terribly expensive. Chop up your fish while the vegetables cook. Add it in when they are close to done. The pot will be so hot at this point that it shouldn’t take long to heat all the way through. Stir it in and let cook for a couple of minutes. Once everything seems done, add in enough milk (of whatever sort pleases you) to bring it to the desired consistency. A really creamy canned coconut milk is particularly lovely. Warm everything up, season with salt and fresh cracked pepper and serve. And it’s that simple!
You aren’t imagining things, the salt actually does help onions sauté faster. It helps draw out the moisture in the onions and avoid simmering them in their own juices. :0)
I have not been on the computer much, but I have popped into your blog a few times to look at your meal plans and cooking ideas, so I am excited to keep up with this series. We just went grain free (GAPs) and I’m been trying to figure it all out. I am trying a 2 week meal plan like you mentioned awhile ago and it is working great so far- yay!