Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Fishy Setback

"I feel like an undomesticated failure," I moaned to Avo tonight.

"Why? Because dinner didn't turn out as you planned?" he said.

That was a generous understatement. Dinner was pretty much inedible.

I tried something that I thought would be a no-brainer: I baked catfish with panko (seasoned with thyme, salt, and pepper) for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. But instead of becoming brown and crispy, the panko remained the color (and taste) of sand. I suspect the problem is that I used canola spray on the bottom of the pan rather than relying on good old fashioned butter (or margarine). As a result, the panko never browned. The fish tasted about as tantalizing as cardboard. I would have been better off using a store bought fish seasoning mix.

I also experimented with a tomato, cucumber, mint salad:

I marinated cucumber slices in 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt for about an hour. Then I tossed it with two tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 cup of chopped mint and a handful of plum tomatoes. It looked colorful and appetizing, but it tasted like it had been doused in soy sauce.

With effort, Avo forced the fish in his mouth, trying to make a good show of it.

"I'm not lovin' it," I confessed, letting him off the hook.

"Well, it is nice to come home to have dinner waiting," said Avo, trying his best to be encouraging. "That said, I think I'm done," he added, pushing away his plate.

"Me too."

Not only was dinner a complete flop, but toys are strewn around the living room and I've got a pile of laundry waiting for me to do.

All is not lost though since my sweetie was nice enough to clean up the kitchen.


Sean said...

The technique we learned from America's Test Kitchen, and live by, is to put the panko in a pan with 1 Tbsp of oil and brown it on the stovetop first, tossing to get even color. Then, dredge and bread your protein. Try it!

Lisa said...

I agree with Sean. That's a good way to go.

I am posting a fish/breadcrumb recipe on my site next week that's pretty foolproof, if you're up for trying again!

Keep at it. :)

Muffy Sainte-Marie said...

keep in mind that the quality of the fish counts too - i've had major fish failure (icky, tasteless) because i purchased questionable product! but yeah, butter does help, as does browning first! xx

Undomesticated Me said...

butter always helps!