Fish is a dirty word in my house. I have to think two or three times about whether I am willing to risk it. Who is going to eat, and who will not. When I finally bite the bullet and make it for dinner, I hold my breath until the news is made public. Then I breathe out and wait for the reaction. “Oh, fish?” Like it’s a big problem that needs consideration. “Hmm, fish? What are we going to do about that?” And of course there’s, “Why did you make fish??” When my kids were little, I used to refer to salmon as “salmon chicken,” thinking this would just get them to taste it. Nope. I even resorted to offering a set amount of money per bite. Nope. Oh, come on, just taste it! Nope. (And I will now insert an apology to my mom, because I hated fish as a kid and would not eat it!)
Although it has taken me quite a few years, I now have everyone in the house eating fish (not always happily), except for one holdout. When he (who shall remain nameless) walks through the door, I brace myself for the scrunched-up face, the rolling of the eyes, and the holding of the nose. “Why did you have to make fish?” He asks. Anyone else have this issue? I am so jealous of those of you whose families eat (and like, and enjoy) fish. It makes it so unpleasant for the rest of us to eat dinner when one person is complaining about the smell and poor choice of dinner the entire time. (Even when it really doesn’t smell—I promise!) It got to the point where I stopped making it altogether. But now, I am cooking fish again, because, well… I actually really enjoy and love fish! I am hoping that by watching the rest of us enjoy our delicious dinner, he will be tempted to cave… Hasn’t happened yet, but one can hope.
In the meantime, if I want to make fish for dinner, I am forced to make fish AND something else. And as long as the “something else” is good, it reduces or eliminates the complaints. A perfectly nice accompaniment to fish is rice, of course. The classic medjedra—lentils with brown rice and crispy fried onions—also adds protein. (Topped with some plain Greek yogurt, it’s even better!) So the non-fish eater is still getting a decent meal, even without the fish, while the fish-eaters get a mighty fine side dish. I have also served delicious cauliflower fried “rice” as the extra. (You can find recipes for the medjedra and cauliflower fried “rice” on my website at www.thekosherdinnerlady.com) I will keep serving the fish, because the more accustomed they all come to expect a fish dinner, the more they will accept it. Right? Well, I guess that remains to be seen.
Here is the salmon I thought would make him crack (he didn’t):
Pecan Crusted Salmon Filet
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. honey
½ C. plain bread crumbs
½ C. chopped pecans
1/8 C. chopped parsley, or 1 tsp. dried
6 (6 oz.) salmon filet
Preheat oven to 400° F. In a small bowl, combine mustard and honey. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley. Brush the mustard honey mixture on each piece of salmon. Press each piece of salmon into the pecan mixture, so it gets a nice coating. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until salmon is just cooked through.
Rachel is a Real Estate attorney, currently trying to figure out what to make for dinner. You can contact her at [email protected]
By Rachel Berger