Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Trout in tomato caper sauce with rice

This recipe is a bit like the game of telephone. A certain DC-area real estate agent was reading the Washington Post and found a recipe worth trying (apparently this is rare for the Post). She made a few alterations and then e-mailed me. I read her recipes and made a few alterations of my own. But I wasn't entirely happy with the results so I'm writing yet another version for tonight's post.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cup basmati rice (I used brown)
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup capers
4 fish fillets (Post used snapper and I used trout -- most any firm-fleshed fish should work)

Heat oil in large, wide skillet and add rice and garlic. Cook until rice starts to turn golden, then add chicken stock, tomatoes, and capers. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until rice is cooked.

Place fish fillets in a baking pan and cover with rice and tomato mixture. Roast in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until done. Grind fresh pepper over fish before serving.

I started the rice in a baking pan on the stove but cooked it in the oven, covered with foil. This took forever and by the time the fish was done the rice was still a little too chewy. So when I say to add the rice to the fish when the rice is cooked I really mean when it's cooked enough so that it'll be done but not mushy when your fish is done. Unhelpful and loosey-goosey, I know. Sorry. Post recommends squirting some lemon but the dish seemed plenty tart to me.

A word about capers: I love capers in salt. Capers in vinegar carry the vinegary taste with them and also just seem dinky to me. So as you reach for the capers, if your grocery store happens to have some in vinegar and some in salt, why not give the salt a try? Just be sure to rinse the capers very well. You'll see.

These charming little radishes were calling out to me so I added them to a salad of cucumbers with garlic green onions dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. I'm not sure that was the perfect dressing for this combination, but I couldn't think of anything else at the time -- especially that wouldn't clash with the fish.

Now that Dave has gone and pulled back the curtain on blogging, exposing how we constantly endeavor to present our best selves, I'm feeling terribly self-conscious as I write tonight. Did you know that I do that? Oh Lordy, it's true! Even when I admit some cooking failure or parental foible in a post it's only to grant my blog greater credibility and to endear myself to my readers just a little by making sure you know that I know that I'm not perfect.

Of course, we do this all the time offline as well. Don't we? Even those of us who sometimes/often/perpetually suffer from Obnoxious Personality Disorder are trying. Despite our commitment to Being True To Oneself in all situations etc. we're always crafting a self that we believe is most appealing to... well, if not everyone else at least to ourselves. We are, each of us, the hero of our own movie.

Dave defends this, but also proposes we consider for a moment turning off the inner critic or censor, quoting psychoanalyst Adam Phillips: "what would have to happen for someone to grow out of the fear of being laughed at?"* You mean stop worrying about the coven of meanies who I am certain read my blog every morning and then phone each other to snicker? It sounds like he's talking about letting go of our narcissism. After all, if we're afraid of being laughed at that means we're assuming someone is actually paying attention. Behind the fear of mockery is an even greater fear of being ignored altogether.

But my favorite part of the essay is how Dave points out the many ways we undermine our efforts to look good -- like the way my attempts to retouch my photos often make the images look freakish rather than simply underexposed. Oh we try but we just can't win. Still, it's fun to try. Don't many of us write because we enjoy conjuring? Why not conjure the self as the most interesting person in one's own universe? What better material is there?

*And while we're on the subject, I can't tell you how squeamish I am about quoting a psychoanalyst in my blog, even if I'm quoting someone else quoting him. It runs so counter to the self I am trying to construct here in my blog. Do you see how I can't help but undermine my efforts -- once again? I tell you, this blogging may look casual and easy but it is loaded with pitfalls.


DC real estate agent said...

Oscar Wilde said it best..."It is better to be talked about than not talked about at all."

Anonymous said...