This Retro Recipe Lives on Because It's Easy and Tasty
Plus, peanutty goodness, and a three-bean salad gets the soup treatment
This week’s dinners are light, fresh, and meat-free. As excited as I am about the soup and noodle dishes we’re showcasing, I hope you’ll take advantage of the fish recipe. I don’t make fish on a regular basis — like many people, I find the sustainability question frustrating and confusing and end up just forgoing it altogether a lot of the time. But I was recently gifted a Sitka Salmon share, and not only does it resolve the sustainability factor for me — I totally trust them — but you just never have to worry that the fish won’t taste good. This is among the best I’ve ever had and only needs the simplest preparation. If you want to join, sign up here and use the code BITTMAN at checkout to get 10 percent off.
If you’re considering signing up for Sitka and are iffy on the pricing, I encourage you to read this. In short, what you’re paying for (aside from incredible fish) is a responsible harvest; fairly paid fishermen; domestic, in-house processing; transparency throughout the entire process, from boat to plate; and environmental stewardship. For someone like me, who doesn’t eat fish all the time, when I do have it, I want it to be great; Sitka fills that need perfectly.
Oven-”Fried” Fish Fillets
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 25 minutes
This is a retro recipe that lives on because it’s both easy and tasty. You can use thin fillets here — just be careful handling them; they’ll cook in about half the time. I used yogurt (rather than buttermilk) and cod fillets, and the result was splendid.
11⁄2 pounds thick fish fillets, cut into 4 pieces
11⁄2 cups buttermilk, yogurt, or milk
1 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
Lemon wedges for serving
Tartar sauce for serving (optional)
1. Soak the fillets in the buttermilk while you heat the oven to 450°F with the rack in the highest position. Put the bread crumbs on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Drizzle about half of the butter or oil over a large rimmed baking sheet. When the oven is hot, pull a piece of fish from the marinade and let it drain a bit. Dredge the still-wet fish in the bread crumbs, patting them to make sure they adhere to both sides, then lay it in the pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Drizzle with the remaining butter or oil.
3. Bake for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. The fish will be crisp on the outside, opaque on the inside, and firm when done; test with a thin-bladed knife. Serve right away with lemon wedges and some tartar sauce if you like.
— Recipe from How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition
Makes: 2 to 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes
Bean sprouts and rice vermicelli (or sticks) tossed effortlessly in a peanutty dressing deliver an unbeatable crisp-and-chewy combination; the eggs make it a one-bowl meal, so don’t skip them.
About 8 ounces rice noodles (vermicelli or sticks, as you like)
8 ounces bean sprouts
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
2 small hot red chiles (like Thai bird or Fresno), seeded if you like, and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the noodles in a large bowl. When the water boils, add enough water to the bowl to cover, stir, then let the noodles soak until they are soft and pliable. Start checking after 3 minutes; thicker noodles could take up to 15. When the noodles are nearly tender, add the sprouts to soak for a minute or 2. Reserve 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, then transfer everything to a colander, run under cold water for 1 minute, and shake off any excess water. Meanwhile, bring the remaining water back to a boil, carefully add the eggs, cover, and turn off the heat. Steep the eggs for 9 minutes, then drain and run under cold water until cool.
2. Whisk together the peanut butter, sugar, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of the chiles, and the lime juice in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and continue to whisk. The dressing should easily coat the back of a spoon. If it’s too thick, whisk in more hot water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lime juice, chiles, and salt if you’d like.
3. Combine the noodles and sprouts with half the dressing in a large bowl and toss gently with 2 forks. Peel the eggs and halve lengthwise. Garnish the noodles with the eggs, scallions, and peanuts and serve at room temperature, passing the lime wedges and the remaining dressing and chiles at the table.
— Recipe from Dinner for Everyone
Smoky Three-Bean Soup with Tomatillo Salsa
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes
This vegan recipe takes all that you love about classic three-bean salad, puts it in a pot, and then adds a fresh and creamy tomatillo salsa.
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic and 1 clove, peeled
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 canned chipotle chiles, chopped, with adobo sauce to taste
1½ cups cooked kidney beans, or one 15-ounce can, drained
1½ cups cooked chickpeas, or one 15-ounce can, drained
2 cups husked and chopped tomatillos
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups tortilla chips (optional)
1. Put 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and chopped garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is silky and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin, chiles, and adobo sauce and cook until fragrant and slightly darkened, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the kidney beans, chickpeas, and 6 cups water. Bring the soup to a boil, then adjust the heat, so it bubbles gently. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the beans are breaking apart and the flavors have had a chance to blend, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Put the tomatillos, scallions, avocado, cilantro, remaining garlic clove, and the lime juice in a blender and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
4. When the soup is ready, add the green beans and return the liquid to a gentle bubble. Cover and cook until they’re tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more adobo sauce if desired. Serve the soup garnished with a spoonful of the tomatillo salsa, and with chips if you’d like.
— Recipe from Dinner for Everyone