Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Filet o' Fish with Fennel Salad

Sometimes, I brave parts of the fish counter for the sake of thrift and I live to tell about it. This is the true (fish)tail of a fishmonger visit that ended well, with just $5 spent, leftovers to spare and a happy discovery: basa. Basa!

I've read a lot about farmed fish and for the most part I'm not impressed verging on squeamish. They are, however, the best bang for your buck and the other night, in the mood for some light white fish, I entered the land of the basa fillet, a farmed mystery fish from Vietnam. Heaven help me.

But guess what? Basa turned out to be light, slightly firm and a somewhat sweet fillet that cooked up beautifully in my grill pan with a little olive oil and lemon juice. I topped it with a little fennel salad and threw some cooked green beans on the plate for good measure. A light and refreshing dinner that will have me returning to the fish counter for some more adventures.

Filet o' Fish with Fennel Salad

2 fillets basa
olive oil
1 lemon
1 small head fennel, shaved thin
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon capers
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Rub a grill pan with olive oil and heat. It should be hot when you put the fish in. Rinse the basa fillets and put in grill pan. Salt and squeeze lemon juice over the fish. Cook until edges are white and then flip it over to finish cooking. If the pan has gotten super hot, just turn off the heat. The fish will be opaque and flakes in big pieces (unlike flounder, for example.)

Meanwhile, toss together the fennel, onion, vinegar, olive oil, capers, parsley and the juice of half a lemon. I plated the fish with the salad on top, but this could easily be on the side.

Fresh fish is within the budget
A nice summery use of fennel
Fast dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day

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