May 13, 2009

Laverne & Shirley & Other Strange Combos

Admit it. If you are of a certain age, you've probably linked arms with your best pal and chanted,
"1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 8,
Hasenpfeffer, Incorporated."

You may have even tried milk & Pepsi, a strange combination.

One of my aunts is not that much older than me. We grew up watching Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, Happy Days, and Laverne and Shirley together. It was her idea to try Laverne's signature milk and Pepsi drink. I've never been one to fear strange food concoctions. We had no idea how to make this odd drink. Was it a half and half ratio? A glass of Pepsi w/ a shot of milk? A glass of milk with a shot of Pepsi? Diplomacy won. We went for half of each.

More than half of it ended up down the drain. And, we never attempted it in any ratio again. And, Laverne's tastes were forever questioned in our minds.

Other strange combos I can remember trying are french fries dipped in Wendy's Frosties, Doritos dipped in chocolate icing (the gourmet treat of a childhood friend), and peanut butter and cheese sandwiches (one of my brother's special recipes). My grandpa had a few weird food pairings I can remember. The oddest one, to me, was strawberry jello topped with sour cream. No, I'm not confusing whipped cream and sour cream. Everyday after lunch, he ate a dish of strawberry jello topped with a dollop of Daisy. I never tried it; I don't like jello.

A food combo that I don't much get is pairing protein with fruit. Like the classic pork chops and applesauce. My grandpa used to make Hawaiian Chicken, which was just chicken baked with pineapple rings. While I'd dip my french fries in a frosty, I wouldn't even try chicken with fruit. Please don't put sweet fruit in my entree. Tomatoes and bell peppers, are fine. Lemons are fine. But, leave out the apples, peaches, plums, cherries, etc.


Once again, the food photographers for Food & Wine Magazine lured me in (you might remember my
Jambalaya dilemma). I came across a picture of a gorgeously-browned piece of fish accented by a colorful salad of citrus and olives. While it definitely looked appetizing, reading the list of ingredients...well, something didn't sit well. The citrus-olive-red wine vinegar combo sounded a little off to me. Citrus and fish...of course. Fish and olives...sounded Mediterranean. Citrus and Citrus and olives and red wine's that going to play out?

In the end, the picture won out. It always seems to. Those photographers should really get raises. It turns out that citrus and olives and fish and red wine vinegar do work together and aren't such strange combos at all. Actually, I found the dish to be a great summer meal--light, refreshing and interesting. But, the good kind of interesting.

Sautéed Trout/Tilapia with Citrus-Olive Relish
Adapted from
Food & Wine Magazine

2 navel oranges
1 small lemon
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup green salad olives, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I add this to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Four 6-ounce trout or tilapia fillets, skinned
All-purpose flour, for dusting—seasoned with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper

Place lemon and orange zest in a bowl. Peel the oranges and lemon. Be sure to remove all of the pith. Working over a bowl to catch any juices, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. I like to cut the segments in half, making them bite-sized. Add the olives, parsley, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the tablespoon of oil. Season the trout fillets with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in seasoned flour. Shake off excess flour and add to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the fillets, reduce the heat to medium and cook until just white throughout, about 3 minutes. Serve the fillets topped with the citrus-olive relish.

This is a fairly fast dish with not many ingredients. The relish can even be made ahead of time if needed. I think it is more flavorful if it sits a while.

Combine the ingredients for the relish in a small bowl. I like to let it sit for maybe 20 minutes so the flavors can meld. Look here to see how to segment the citrus fruits and not get that annoying stringy stuff in your relish.

I'm sure the people at Food and Wine use some kind of fancy olive. I use what I have in the fridge. The pimentos add more color, right?

Heat oil in a large frying pan (or two medium pans). Dredge the fish fillets in seasoned flour.

When your oil is hot, add the fish. Cook on one side until a nice golden brown color forms.

Flip fish over and cook until flesh is cooked throughout.

Serve right away, topped with the citrus-olive relish. Something about this screams summer to me. Maybe it's the sunny colors. Maybe it's the fact that this dish doesn't heat up my kitchen very much. That's always a great summer treat.

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, citrus and olive... I wouldn't have thought of it. Thanks for adding to the "jam" session! Cheers


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