Tonight from Blue Apron: Crispy Cod, with summer squash and arugula salad.
I do enjoy a nice, mild, white fish deep-fried -- hence my at least once-a-month surrender to the greasy joy that is Captain D’s. But I’ve never dared to cook it. I’ve baked some tilapia, but that’s about it, except for frozen fish sticks, which in recent years have become little more than fish-flavored fried batter. Even the ones now that claim to be “big fish fillets” are lying. So, I usually end up back at Captain D’s, though every now and then Da Boyfriend and I splurge on Battered and Fried in East Nashville. (Locals, if you haven’t tried it, it’s really, really good. And their onion rings are to die for. I’m a tough critic of onion rings. Serve me frozen onion rings and I will slap you.)
I ate a lot of frozen fish sticks growing up, and I swear they had more fish in them back then. Fish stick night was always accompanied by Kraft mac-and-cheese, and canned green beans. And we liked it that way.
Then again, I was a kid. What did I know? Except for summer vacation trips to the catfish camp with Dad’s family in Bainbridge, GA, I never saw fresh fish until I went to college. At the catfish camp, my mother always ordered fried chicken for my sister and me, because she wanted to be able to enjoy her catfish without worrying that one of us was going to choke to death on a fish bone. We didn’t mind much. The catfish looked, and smelled... well, fishy.
But this meal from Blue Apron looked enticing, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did. I enjoyed it very much, though the side dishes turned out to be a little odd.
I’m talking about the summer squash. I assumed I would be baking it; it never occurred to me that we’d be eating it raw. The recipe called for mixing Dijon mustard (again with the Dijon!), olive oil, minced garlic, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper together to make a marinade for the squash cut into thin planks.
It was surprisingly good. Da Boyfried said he would make it again, but then as I have mentioned before, he’s a big mustard fan. I am not. But I am tempted to try it again with some different ingredients. After all, there’s no law that says everything has to be cooked. I’ve been eating a lot of raw sugar snap peas as a snack, but who’s to say I can’t eat them with a meal? The squash certainly made for a light, summery dish.
One thing with some of these recipes: some of the ingredients seem to be everyone’s darling of the moment. This was the second Dijon mustard this week. I not only had arugula last week, I had it tonight and I’m apparently having it again tomorrow night. Could I please get some romaine or spinach?
It was my first time eating, let alone cooking, quinoa. At least I know how to pronounce it now, thanks to Panera. For a long time, I would stammer and then call it “that queen-no stuff.”
Those tiny little grains are a bitch to rinse and drain! I made the mistake of trying to sift them around under the water with my hand, and ended up with the little suckers clinging to me like those little white packing balls that just won’t shake off no matter what you do. I finally had to just rinse my hand and let it go down the drain.
Luckily had a strainer I use for straining stray grounds out of my coffee. A colander would have sent 90% of it down the drain. I’m not honestly sure how I feel about quinoa even now; it’s more texture than taste.
The red quinoa was cooked, then added to the arugula with crushed almonds, and tossed with the leftover squash marinade. Overall, the arugula salad and squash made a filling change of pace.
But the cod... the cod was fabulous. Beautiful white, flaky fillets that, with the help of the recipe’s impeccable timing, was perfectly cooked. Not over-cooked, not under-cooked. That, to me, is still a minor miracle. It’s always been my downfall. And that wonderful panko crumb breading. God, I love that stuff.
So I score this as another win for Blue Apron. Tomorrow it’s either cherry tomato zucchini quiche or squash quesadillas. I might sneak a little ham into the quiche. I don’t know how I keep picking vegetarian meals without meaning to. I am a carnivore after all. Hear my roar!
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