Thursday, September 3, 2009

The cost of eating well and in season

Tonight's dinner is herb-encrusted fresh wild silver salmon and green beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil. Times are tough right now, and while this seems like an expensive meal, if you break it down it's actually less than most of the burgers at your local fast food outlet.

The ingredients: Fresh silver salmon, $7.99/lb, costco. 1/2lb serving, about $3.50
1/2lb of green beans, $1.99/lb, farmers market plus 2 cloves garlic, about $1.25
Olive oil, dried basil and thyme, butter: $.50

So this dinner is about $5.25 a serving.

First, if you want to eat cheap, cook larger amounts all at the same time. Here's dinner tonight, fish sandwich tomorrow, all from the same fish. Specifics: In a large pan, melt 1/4 cube of butter. Heat until it bubbles to get most of the water out of it. Add the dried basil, a pinch of salt and some onion powder. Stir a little, and then put your fish in, skin-side down.

I fry fish skin-side down so that when I flip it the skin helps hold it together so I can keep the fish in one piece. I like my salmon seared on the outside but well-done in the center, so that's how I cook it, but the current rage is all about rare fish. Look, if you want rare fish, eat sushi.

Take your green beans and snap them into 2-3" lengths. Take the stem off and throw a handful of beans and a minced clove of garlic into a heavy pan with 1/8 cup of olive oil. Let those beans cook until they're a little brown and shriveled. once they're a little brown, toss in the rest of your beans and saute them until they're hot and a little soft -- 2-3 minutes. Toss in another clove or two of minced garlic towards the end of this.

You might want to use MORE olive oil -- I put 1/8th cup as a starting point, but the olive oil is your sauce for the beans, your salad dressing if you will, and it tastes good. So experiment.

You want the different bean textures -- well done, almost raw -- and you want the crisped garlic and the soft-cooked garlic. what makes this dish really good is the contrast between all of the different flavors.

Serve the fish and beans warm, with a heavy pinch of kosher salt on them. Yum!


StefRobrts said...

I do my green beans like this too, but I like to start by cooking a slice of bacon in the pan, chopped up fine, then throw in the garlic and green beans and let them all cook in the bacon fat. I know it's not as healthy as olive oil, but dang it's good!

David Bernhard said...

Bruce, it's Rillettes, not Rillet like I said. Sorry. David