Back in form this week, I made two simultaneous involved dishes. Well, maybe not that involved. But involved enough.
Main dish was Caramel Fish Filets, from Mark Bittman. Since he doesn’t publish his own recipes online, see fellow blogger Boots in the Oven for the recipe.
Basically you melt sugar until it caramelizes, put in a bunch of other stuff, and cook the fish in it.
The other dish was from my partner Harry, who is a serious Italian-authentic cook. He recommended rendering some pancetta, browning garlic in it, and tossing it over peas.
OK. Neither of these is daunting to our halfway-through-the-year Crummy Cook. But together, they presented some complications.
I put in the pancetta first. I was going to get it crispy, take it out, cook the garlic, toss it with the peas, and then reheat the peas right before Debbie and I ate.
But I got so bogged down with melting the sugar (sugar as in caramelizing scares the bejeezus out of me) that the pancetta burned. I had these four disks of completely blackened pancetta, and not much time to decide what to do. Fortunately I had more dry powder, so I put in four more disks and ate the evidence (the blackened ones, not too bad by my standards).
Everything settled down. The fish turned out well – it’s sweet, sour, and fish-saucy, a even spicy (although next time I’ll use chili pepper instead of black pepper) – and the peas were decent (although I want to work next time on getting the pancetta more tender; it still didn’t work out completely right).
Debbie was pleased, and I let deeper criticism/self-criticism slide for the night.