Wednesday, 25 April 2012
For the Cuisinart-phobic Among Us...
I am a bona fide lover of food. Eating is one of my passions, and I can boast that there is nothing I won't try once. Raw whole crab in Korea? Done it. Mysterious organ meat in Costa Rica? Done that too. I cluck my tongue when people order their steak more than mid-rare and I silently admonish their unwillingness to eat the fat. It's delicious, it's edible, and it's there. If you are going to eat an animal, then eat it!
But even though I'm a food-thusiast and love eating, I can't stand cooking. It's messy, it's time-consuming, it can be expensive, and it requires effort. I live alone, and so cooking a class-act dinner from a recipe book would generally give me three portions too many, would require at least forty-five minutes of my precious unemployed time, and would need at least twenty minutes of clean-up afterwards. Not to mention that arduous trip to the grocery store where I have to beat my way through the throngs of people and stand in the checkout line for a dog's age. All that for a meal that I can voraciously stuff down in about two and a half minutes. So not worth it.
But since I'm not a Rockefeller and don't have gold coins spilling out of my pockets, I am sometimes forced to forego meals at trendy waterfront bistros in favour of my own creations. So naturally, I devised the least taxing meal with the most taste, that can be cooked with almost no notice whatsoever, and hardly longer than it takes the Jeopardy contestants to finish their godforsaken anecdotes in the first round. Without further ado....
Start with a trout filet. The fresh is great, but if you only have frozen, so be it. I like to buy a stockpile of frozen filets in advance, so that I'm not obligated to go out of the house in order to eat. If a shut-in such as myself is forced to go out of the house for any reason, I'd probably just go through a Wendy's drive-thru and call it a day.
Pat the filet dry on both sides. In a pyrex dish of some sort (is that what they're called, even? See, I don't know these things. Just use an oven-safe dish) put about two tablespoons of olive oil. Enough to swirl into a light coating all over the bottom of the dish.
Place the filet skin side down in the dish. On top, season with salt, pepper, and your fave seasoning. I like to use the Mrs. Dash lemon and herb, but cumin is great too. Trout works well with most flavours so go nuts. On top of that, liberally apply lemon juice all over the filet and some in the bottom of the dish too so that it evaporates over the trout (and the juice can be from the plastic lemon instead of a real one. No one cares.) Last, put a pat of butter on top of the trout filet so that it will melt and caramelize the fish a bit.
Put it in a hot oven for twenty minutes. I usually use 400 degrees but I find that no matter what you do, it still cooks, so you may find something that works better for you. After twenty minutes, take out your delicious piece of fish and serve with some fresh green beans (which, by the way, you cooked for about ten minutes in boiling water while you were watching Jeopardy and drinking wine). You have a delicious and healthy meal ready in no time, and the best part is that the dishes are a snap. The green bean pot is a quick soapy rinse, and the pyrex dish can soak over night until your significant other cleans it in the morning (hopefully, anyway. I live alone so that part is still up to me).
There you have it. Quick, delish, and hardly requires more effort than it takes to turn on the oven. Take note, though: in the event that you serve this for someone else, and they are too childish to eat their trout skin? Recommend a local chicken finger joint and say good riddance. The true gourmets among us know that if you're going to bother to make yourself dinner, you don't waste a bite.