Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Perch and Fresh Asparagus, My Favorites!
I wash the perch, dip in flour, spray a pan with cooking spray and add a bit of oil to barely coat the pan and "fry" the perch, skin side up -- I hope I have this correct -- that the skin side is up when first cooking the perch,k as if the wrong side is down, the pieces curl and are nearly impossible to cook evenly! If I forget which end is to be up, I cook one piece in the pan to double check! I like to get a brown coating on one side before turning the delicate fish. Just before placing the fish in the pan, I rub dried dill between my palms and sprinkle it on the coated fish. I add dill to the flour coating too. The reason I use flour for perch rather than corn meal or some other coating, is that I want a very delicate covering of the lovely perch. I love to see the petals of the fish, but always watch out for those tiny bones which usually find themselves on my husband's pieces of perch!
Perch is probably my favorite fish as living near Lake Erie, we ate it much as children, however, my mother would fry it to perfection. Frying is no longer a cooking option for us, but spraying the pan and adding a bit of oil to coat, gives us the illusion of fried perch, my very favorite fish. Add a Yukon gold potato plain, without anything on it, allows us to justify the bit of fat in the fish, and the yellow color of the potato makes it look like it is full of yummy butter (not in our normal meal plan, but allowed at weddings and special occasions). I try to cook the asparagus until just barely tender as my husband dislikes what he calls "al dente" vegetables -- he likes his vegetables as if they came out of a can or are cooked to the state of mushiness! I much prefer a bit of a bite and the beautiful color of a slightly "al dente" vegetable, but love to eat them raw too!
The first time I had raw asparagus in a mixed salad was at the home of a friend's mother. My friend's mother lives in Maineville, Ohio, and would grow her asparagus and serve it freshly picked in a salad, literally having the "just picked goodness" of a homegrown vegetable.
I am thinking much of my friend's Mom and hope she is feeling better after some courageous surgery! Were the weather better, we would be visiting my friend's mother and enjoying the visit with her in her most incredible garden!
I don't usually garnish our plates with strawberries, but aromatic ones are on sale this week and having spent the weekend in Chicago at a fabulous wedding has influenced my simple meals for our homecoming!The perch is sitting on a bed of fresh arugula which I can not wait to grow again in my garden. My Mom planted arugula every year and baby arugula reminds me of a lunch my youngest sister and I had with my graduate school adviser, a friend for over 45 years, who took us for a beautiful lunch at The Tavern on the Green in Central Park (sadly, The Tavern is now closed), where we had baby arugula salads!