Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More From the Kitchen


I've written before about how the 1958 cookbook "Don's Secrets" has been such a staple in our household. I can't begin to tell you how many hits I've had on this blog from people who are looking for one of Don's recipes or a copy of this old cookbook. Tonight I cooked from it, more or less.

When we were in Costco this week I saw some nice Sea Bass. Don's recipe that I was thinking about, Baked Red Fish, actually calls for Red Fish from the Gulf of Mexico but even in Texas I can't get that anymore so I've substituted sea bass before and it turned out okay. So I bought it planning to cook the recipe but of course I had to make some changes. First of all, the recipes in Don's cookbook use a lot more oil and butter than we use these days so I knew I wanted to cut some of the oil out. And secondly sometimes the sauces are cooked for really long periods and I wanted something a little fresher tasting. So here is what I did today but the next time I may try using fresh roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped instead of the canned diced tomatoes.

2 pounds of filleted sea bass or some thick fish.
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic minced
scant 1/4 cup cooking oil
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
fill tomato sauce can with tomato juice
1 cup cold water
Green onion tops and parsley to taste, chopped
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne

Season fish generously with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Put in baking dish and leave in refrigerator while sauce cooks.

Heat oil in heavy pot. When hot add chopped onions, celery and garlic. Cook over medium heat in uncovered pot, until onions are wilted, stirring constantly. Add tomato sauce, tomato juice and diced tomatoes. Cook over medium heat uncovered for about 30 minutes. Add water. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste. You want a bit of bite but if you seasoned the fish generously you will be adding more spice when the sauce is cooked on the fish. Cook for about 15 or 20 minutes. Pour this over the fish and cook in 325 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. Baste if necessary.

When fish is done, sprinkle with green onion tops and parsley before serving. You can also garnish with some lemon slices. Serve with rice, spooning some of the sauce over the rice or serve the fish on top of the rice. Serves 4-6.

For a complete meal, serve baked fish with a green salad and a good crusty french bread. Ohh....and don't forget the white wine.

UPDATE: BillO left this post at the Don's Secrets blog entry: Amazon.com has 3 copies - about $80apiece. Look's like they might be the same thing. You'd have to want it a lot. I looked at Amazon. I think that the one they list is a later version of the cookbook because the chapter headings are different.

5 comments:

jennifer rose said...

Let me suggest a way to make that recipe even easier. Put the chopped tomato, garlic, onions, celery and a tiny bit of olive oil into a skillet. If the tomatoes are not real juicy, as is usually the case with Romas, add a tiny amount of water. Maybe some cayenne – or not. Cook it a bit – or not. Lay the fish fillets on top of the vegetable mixture and reduce the temperature on the stove as low as possible, just so there’s barely a flicker of flame. Cover. Check it in 10 or 15 minutes, depending upon the mass. Usually, there’s no need to turn the fish. You might spoon some of the vegetable mixture over the fish if more cooking appears to be in order. Or to make it look prettier. Remember, that even after you take it off the flame, some cooking will still take place. And that’s my method of cooking – or poaching.

Garnish and serve. It works out perfectly every time. And moreover, it only dirties one pan!

Steve Cotton said...

I am not a fish eater, but you have inspired me to pull out the skillet. Tonight I whipped up a pork combination that could be best called Mexican-Southwest-Japanese fusion.

Billie said...

Jennifer, that sounds quick and delicious and I'm going to try it but I'm not sure it will have the creole taste.

Steve, Ned isn't a big fish eater either but he does love cajun and creole food.

pitchertaker said...

I do something similar, but leave out the celery, and add capers, green chilis, and green olives. If I add capers to anything, Ellen will eat it.

P'taker

Billie said...

Frank, that sounds good. It is maybe a little more Spanish.

I do a dip/appetizer with talapia where I lightly cook the fish in olive oil and crumble it up while I'm cooking. Take it out of the skillet and put aside. Then I saute onion, chopped serranos, chopped seeded tomatoes. Add some capers and add the fish back in. Cook for just a minute and add some seasonings...salt, black pepper and cayenne. You will not get final taste until you put it in the refrigerator for about an hour or two to cool and let flavors blend. May have to adjust seasons again. Serve with tortilla chips. It has always been a big hit when I serve it at a party.