I guess I should explain about me and fish. I hate fish. I love sushi. I hate the types of sushi that involve cooked shrimp or anything similar. I love shrimp. Except when I say that I love shrimp, really what I mean is I rarely eat shrimp and whenever I go to a party that has shrimp as an option part of me is saying "Hey, remember last time you ate shrimp? And the time before that? And pretty much every time ever? It's delicious, huh? You should definitely get in on that shrimp cocktail before it's gone and you KNOW it will be" and another part of me is saying "Shrimp is fish. You hate fish. Why would you eat shrimp? You won't like it. Sure, you seem to remember liking it before, but your memories are wrong. It's gross. Don't touch it." I always end up eating the shrimp and being happy that I did, and I tried scallops last summer and they weren't so bad, but in general, cooked seafood disgusts me. Occasionally it's prepared well and I enjoy it while it's in my mouth but then it leaves a nasty aftertaste and I get mad at myself for being tricked into eating fish again. I'm simplifying this by making a list, because I'm aware that nothing I just wrote made any sense to anyone but me.
TIMES THAT I LIKE FISH
-Shrimp, especially in shrimp cocktail form, but part of me thinks I won't every time
-Sushi (but none of the types involving anything cooked)
-Sushi-grade tuna steaks that are cooked really rare and are basically just sushi with a little bit of sear on the edges
-My dad made this awesome poached salmon on top of a palak paneer-like spinach mixture and that was quite good
-When there is enough other flavor in the dish that I can't actually taste the fish at all (such as baked in salsa)
That's pretty much it. I do, however, have a 'try anything once' policy when it comes to food--if I didn't I never would have eaten sushi and look where THAT would have gotten me--so I'll occasionally take a bite of someone else's fish if they order it somewhere. The result of that is usually that the bite was almost tolerable but there's no way I would eat an entire piece of fish. Luckily, I think, from these tastes, I've developed an ability to know if fish is prepared well, even if I don't like it myself. (Though if the fish smells fishy, I won't touch it. Sorry. The smell makes me nauseous.)
Anyway, Mike wanted fish on Friday, because he always eats fish on Good Friday, but he didn't want to make me make or eat fish. I decided that, in honor of his tradition, I would find a way to prepare fish so I could tolerate it, because otherwise we would have had to go to the store while there was some perch in the freezer that just needed defrosting. Unfortunately, the perch was frozen and I had to run it under hot water for a long time before I could break it apart, and once I'd run it under hot water the skin was all soggy and do you know how hard it is to skin a fish when the skin is soggy? (I will say, however, that I'm pretty damn good at skinning a fish. As much as I avoid it, I once worked in a grocery store deli/fish department and had to learn how to skin the fishes. Witnessing a contest between two other members of the department to see who was the better fish-skinner taught me how to be quite good at it.)
NOT QUITE A RECIPE: Edana's Approach to Fish
-lots of breadcrumbs
-parmesan or romano cheese
-a relatively large amount of herbs and spices that you know you like and go well together
1. Preheat your oven to whatever temperature the fish you're cooking should be baked at.
2. Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and herbs/spices in a bowl.
3. Skin the fish if you weren't smart enough to have the people at the store do it for you. (This is a lot easier if the fish is fresh.) You can leave the skin on if you want, but I don't know why you'd want to do that. It always confuses me.
4. Melt the butter. Brush the fish with the butter. Cover the fish in the breadcrumbs mixture. Put it on a thoroughly oiled baking sheet.
5. Bake for required amount of time. (This is usually not very long. If you don't know, look it up, and check it after the smallest amount of time because overcooked, dry fish is even worse.)
I used a large amount of basil and a small amount of paprika. It came out in the "this doesn't taste so bad until after I swallow it, at which point my mouth tastes like fish" category. I was able to eat a whole (though quite small) fillet. Mike loved it and was very happy that I sacrificed myself for him like that. He seemed sort of surprised that I managed to be good at cooking fish despite my general refusal to have anything to do with it.
I realize this isn't all that spectacular of a dish to be blogging about, but since I've never made fish before, I thought it was worth mentioning that I did something new. (And I think at some point this turned into a rant. Whoops.) Maybe someday I'll make sushi, and I'll have made fish that I actually like eating.