Thursday, December 16, 2010

The "One Pot Meal"

I speak to a lot of people who want cook, but are only preparing food for one or two people.  In this scenario multiple courses and/or components don't always make sense.  Enter - stage left - the "one pot meal."  A square meal with enough chutzpah to leave you satisfied, and with leftovers, but only requires one pot.  
I'm going to do an on-going series about these, to keep those of you cooking for the few, in the kitchen.   Something you'll notice is that they always be for more than two people can eat, this is because when you're cooking on a small scale, leftovers become a necessity.  Not only to lighten your cooking load, but to compensate for recipes that would otherwise call for a half of a can of tomatoes. . . what do you do with the other half?

and now, to start the series "One Pot Fish" {I used a second vessel for aesthetic reasons}

Roasted Fish with Potatoes and Thyme

1.5-2 lbs  white flakey fish, cut into 4 portions (talapia, seabass, cod, etc)
1 lb small potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch coins
1 box cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 bunch of thyme, rinsed well
1 1/4 cups of white wine (not too sweet, pinot grigio, savangion blanc, chardonay, etc.)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees

1. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet (not cast iron) over medium high heat.  Once hot add enough vegetable oil to film the pan and give it a good 30-45 seconds to get hot.  This will prevent the fish from sticking.
2. Laying the fish away from you, gently drop it in.  Give the pan a quick jiggle after each piece to work some oil under the fish.  This also prevents sticking.
3. Once the fish is browned well on one side (4-5 min.), remove it from the pan and set aside.  In the same pan, drop in the potatoes.  (you may need to add a drop more oil for this step)

4. When the potatoes have slightly browned, and are creeping up on being fork tender (6-8 min.) add the wine, onion, tomatoes and thyme.  Bring this to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.  The liquid should become a nice pinkish-orange color.
5.   Kill the heat.  On top of all of this lay the fish, browned side up, so that it's partially submerged in the liquid.
6. Place the pan in the oven for around 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked.  Test this by pressing gently on the thicker part of a piece, you should feel just a slight give between the flakes.  If you see white stuff coming out of the fish, you've gone way too far.

* You should be able to lift the thyme stems right out.  The leaves will fall right off. 

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