Monday, April 15, 2013

Lazy Dinner

Part of my goal with this blog is to demystify seafood. Over the years I have met many people who are afraid of seafood, either because they do not know what to do with it or because they have had a bad experience. Well, I am here to tell you that seafood is neither scary nor difficult.

Seriously, I am not the cook in my family. Ask my brother about my cooking skills and he will relate to the tale of the time I burned myself cooking rice. Ask my husband and he will confirm that for two years he would not let me touch his Wustofs. Even today he cuts some food for me. No, I am not an ace in the kitchen, but even I can cook seafood. 

While I am not a chef and I am hella awkward in the kitchen, I can follow directions pretty well and muddle my way through most recipes to the point that my friends and family actually enjoy my creations. On this blog, from time to time, I will post details of my seafood cooking endeavors. If I can do it, you can definitely do it.     

Baked Stuffed Haddock, Brussels Sprouts, Couscous and Kriek

I am going to start this one off with the acknowledgment that I cheated. If you have ever watched that crazy drunk lady on the Food Network (Sandra Lee), this is a semi-homemade meal.

Step 1: Crap my kitchen is not designed for short people and my baking dish is waaaaay up there. 

Step 2: A nice filet of FAS (frozen at sea) haddock. FAS means the fish has been caught and frozen whole at sea. When the fishing boat arrives in port the fish are thawed, cut and sold to local fish markets.   

We (Gurnet Trading) do not usually cut our own haddock and FAS is what we usually stock. Occasionally, we will get haddock direct from local boats. 

Haddock is our most popular fish and is a local staple. We fry it, bake, and put it in chowders. Locally, it is usually the catch of the day. If you walk into a Maine restaurant and the menu just says fish, you can usually assume it's haddock.

Haddock is a white flaky fish with a very mild flavor. It first gained popularity when cod stocks began to dwindle and it became a cheaper alternative for English fish and chips.

Step 3: This is the part where I cheat. This is my mom's seafood stuffing. This stuff is amazing. It contains shrimp, scallops, crab, maybe some crack. Anyway she sells it in the store, it's all packaged up and frozen. I thawed it on the counter for an hour and then stuck it in the refrigerator for a couple more hours to let it finish thawing. 

Step 4: The stuffing is sticky and it probably could have use a little more time thawing. Raw, this stuff doesn't look terribly appealing, but it's awesome. I promise. 

Step 5: Everything is better with butter. I sprinkled some Panko on top of the stuffing and then drizzled it with some melted butter.  

Step 6: Usually I cheat on the vegetables and open a can of peas or throw something from the freezer into the microwave. But fresh Brussels sprouts are the best. I slice off the bases and peal off the outer leaves.

Step 7: I drizzle the sprouts with olive oil and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Step 8: I baked both the sprouts and the haddock at 350 F for about 20 minutes. I also stuck them under the broiler for the last couple minutes to get the fish golden brown and the sprouts caramelized with a few crunchy potato-chip-like leaves.

Really the hardest part of this meal was the wait, so I popped open one of my home brewed krieks (a cherry lambic beer with lovely effervescence and a pleasant tang) to pass the time.

Oh I also made some parmesan couscous, but that came from a box and really isn't worth more than a passing mention.

Check out the flaky goodness. And the crunchy. So good. If I can do it, you can do it. Yes I know, I cheated and I know your saying "Sarah, you're just trying to sell your mom's stuffing." Yea that is partially true, but one of these days I will make a stuffing from scratch for you. But until then you can stop by Gurnet Trading Co. and pick up some on your way home. Or, better yet, in a few weeks I will put it in a box and ship it to you.