Friday, June 5, 2009
When you have to eat crow... eat cod instead.
I have to admit that when my mom gave me and Eric The Everything Cooking for Two cookbook by David Poran, I was dubious. The food snob in me would not allow that a good recipe could come from a cookbook that did not have glossy, full color photos or was not a tradition-laden tome like The Joy of Cooking or the magazine Cooks. Two years later, after countless meals from this handy little, now grease-stained book, I stand corrected. I stand so corrected, that I'm posting two recipes from the book: one for flavorful, light cod cakes topped with a refreshing papaya salsa and the other for basmati rice with peas and cumin. Together, these recipes make a relatively easy summer meal and, just as the title of the book promises, they provide exactly enough sustenance for two. Enjoy!
Caribbean-Style Cod Cakes
3/4 pound cod fillet 1 T grated fresh gingerroot
1 1/4 cups plain breadcrumbs 1 T fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 egg lightly beaten 1/4 ground allspice
juice of 2 limes 1 c peeled and small-diced papaya (mango works too)
6 scallions, thinly sliced 2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1. Simmer the cod in salted water until it begins to break apart. Drain in a colander and break apart well. Let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
3. When the fish is cool, mix together the fish, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg, half the lime juice, half the scallions, the ginger, thyme, allspice, cayanne, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 equal patties and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the salsa by mixing together the papaya, the rest of the lime juice and scallions, the cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. (I let the salsa sit for at least a few minutes for the juices to work their magic.) Serve the salsa on top of the fish.
Cumin and Sweet Pea Basmati Rice
1 cup basmati rice
2 T butter, divided
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 c frozen peas (he recommends defrosted, but I use them frozen with fine results)
1 1/2 c chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. In a small saucepot, heat 1 T of the butter on medium and saute the onion, garlic, and cumin seeds for about 3 minutes or until the onions are lightly golden.
3. Drain the rice, add it to the pan, stir well. Add the peas and broth, and bring to a simmer. Immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and cover the pot.
4. Cook for exactly 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and add the remaining butter and sale and pepper. Stir gently to avoid breaking the grains of rice. Serve immediately.
Thanks, mom! And thanks David Poran.