Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cooking for 1 - Seafood night!

I made myself a simple and satisfying dinner last night, and it was delicious!  I was cooking for 1 because, as I mentioned before, Corey will not eat fish (unless it is sushi).  A bonus is that I have leftovers for lunch today.  This dinner came about because I had some dover sole in the freezer, since I stocked up when Whole Foods had it on sale recently.
I used my favorite fool-proof method for making a quick dinner - sauteing and making a pan sauce.  This is something that can be done with any type of protein, and with a few ingredients pulled from the fridge for a pan sauce.  This is a very quick dish to make - depending on what protein you are using, cooking only takes 10-15 minutes.  Here is what I made:
Sauteed Dover Sole Fillets with a Lemon Caper Pan Sauce:
I had about 3/4-1lb of dover sole, which I sprinkled with salt & pepper before dredging in flour.  Next, I heated about 1T butter and 1/2T olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Then I added the fish, cooked a couple of minutes on both sides until light golden brown, and removed to a clean plate.
While the fish was cooking, I put the ingredients for my pan sauce in a small bowl:  6T chicken broth, 2T lemon juice, and 2t capers.  After I removed the cooked fish, I added this to the hot pan and stirred while the mixture was boiling.  This gets all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan which help to thicken and flavor the sauce.  When the sauce was reduced, I added some butter to the pan (a couple teaspoons) and stirred around just until melted.  Then I spooned the sauce over the fish.
I also kept the side dishes simple: I had this with toasted pearl couscous and roasted asparagus.
This method of cooking is included in many cookbooks, including the one by Mark Bittman which I wrote about yesterday.  You can use any kind of protein, such as chicken breasts, pork chops or fish.  For chicken breasts it helps to pound them out to an even thickness, so that they cook evenly and quickly.  For the pan sauce, you need about 1/2C liquid per 1-1.5lb protein, along with whatever flavoring you would like to use (for example chopped tomatoes, olives, citrus zest, mustard - in my case capers), and a little fat to smooth it out at the end (could be butter, cream, goat cheese).
This is one of my favorite ways to cook, because it allows for using whatever you have on hand.
Have you cooked this way before?  Do you have a favorite way to cook a simple dinner?  Let me know!

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